Londonderry-based construction company Taggart Homes Limavady Limited has been fined today (Monday, December 20) for two health and safety failings, one of which involved working at height.

On June 27, 2019, a brick layer working as a sub-contractor for the company fell backwards from an ungraded trestle work platform while working on a first floor area of a house under construction.

On falling from the platform he subsequently fell through a stairwell opening and sustained serious injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) found, via investigation of the incident, that no protective measures were in place to prevent workers falling either from the work platform or through the unprotected stairwell opening.

Following a guilty plea, the company was ordered to pay £20,000; £10,000 for the breach of Article 5(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and £10,000 for breach of Regulation 13 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016.

Commenting, HSENI Inspector Kiara Blackburn said: “Falls from height have resulted in many serious injuries and deaths across Northern Ireland construction sites.

Employers, including principal contractors, have a legal responsibility to ensure work is properly planned, managed and monitored.

“Where working at height cannot be avoided, falls from height must be prevented. Simple solutions such as guard rails at open edges or secure boarding over open stairwells are all readily available control measures within the construction industry.”

Working at height

Between 2015 and 2020, the largest cause of death in UK occupational accidents was falling from a heights/fatal falls, accounting for 33.91% of deaths, according the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) workplace fatality data analysed in a report.

The report carried by out I’m insured, examined data on workplace fatalities between 2015 and 2020. Based on their findings, construction is the nation’s most dangerous job and farming is the second, with almost one in six deaths attributed to both occupations.