Fines for Broken Back

A modular building specialist has been fined after an employee broke his back falling from a canopy at a Shropshire school.


RG Stones (Buildings) Ltd had been contracted to replace the canopy between two temporary buildings at Lakelands School on Oswestry Road in Ellesmere when the incident happened last August.

William Phillips, 52, of Weston Rhyn, was standing on the canopy with two colleagues when he fell three metres between the timber joists onto the concrete floor below.

He fractured his back, breastbone, six ribs and right wrist and has not yet been able to return to work.

Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had not installed any edge protection to prevent a fall.

It had put two soft landing bags on the floor to mitigate the effect of any fall, but neither were in the area where the work was being carried out.

RG Stones (Buildings) ltd, of Wrexham, Clwyd, pleaded guilty to safety and was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £3,105.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Guy Dale said: “This incident was entirely preventable. The company had obviously appreciated the risks of a fall, as shown by the provision of the landing bags, but it’s a shame they didn’t think to put them under the area it was most needed.

“Work at height is a high risk activity and needs to be properly planned. Had that happened, a man would not have been left with debilitating injuries.”

Source: Construction Enquirer


LST Comments:


During teaching the SMSTS & SSSTS courses, our instructors continually bang on about the top four killers in the construction with Falls being the biggest. The case above backs up what we teach, but what frustrates us is the small fee’s the guilty party had to pay out in this case. Under £10,000 for a serious injury is not enough, but take into account the cost of legal fees, loss of work at the time of accident, loss of work of future contracts due to bad image, any civil claim that now could ensue and the cost of any re-training or corrective action needed to prevent re-occurrence.


Do a Risk/Cost Analysis of your work and find out how much it would cost to get it wrong and how much it will cost to get it right, don’t be foolish.


August 13, 2012 | Categories: Lighthouse Blog, News |
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