Agri engineer ordered to pay £8,800 following worker’s 3m fall

An agricultural engineer from Devon was recently sentenced after a worker sustained serious, life-changing injuries after a fall from height, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Plymouth Crown Court heard how Russell Soper, trading as RJS Agricultural Welding, was contracted to install the mezzanine floor in a unit at the South Hams Business Park in Totnes, Devon, during March 2017.

On March 31, Derek Mortimore – a 53-year-old self-employed worker contracted by Russell Soper to help with the floor construction – was working on the mezzanine floor while it was still being constructed.

During the work, Mortimore fell approximately 3m through the purlins to the concrete floor below suffering serious head injuries.

Mortimore remained in hospital for many months after the fall to undergo neurological rehabilitation, according to the HSE.

An investigation by the executive found that Russell Soper, as an employer, failed in his duty to ensure the health and safety of his employees and others whilst at work.

Insufficient measures were taken to prevent a fall through the mezzanine floor while under construction.

Russell Soper of Diptford, Totnes pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

He has been fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £6,132 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Allison George said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“Mr. Mortimore’s injuries were life changing for both him and his family. He could have easily been killed.

“This serious incident and devastation could have been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place.”