Unprotected stairwell: ‘Simple measures’ could have prevented worker’s fall

A principal contractor has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when he fell approximately three metres through an unprotected stairwell opening.

On 17 August 2017, a sub-contractor to Brown Construction Ltd was laying bricks for the second storey of a new build house in Ash, Canterbury. There was an opening in the floor where the stairs were to be installed. The worker slipped and fell through the opening and landed on his feet shattering his left heel. He required surgery to repair it.

The HSE’s investigation found that no measures had been taken to prevent workers from falling from height through the stairwell opening.

Brown Construction Ltd of Ashford Road, Maidstone, pleaded guilty to breaching of Regulation 4 (1) of the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £17,333.

Commenting, HSE Inspector Ross Carter said: “In this case a worker suffered serious injuries which could have been avoided by taking simple measures, such as installing guardrails around the opening, to prevent workers falling from height.”