A case in Scotland, which recently resulted in three companies being fined over the same incident, provides a reminder of the health and safety responsibilities of all firms involved in any part of the construction supply chain, not just the contractor.
The companies were – between them – fined over £300,000 following a fall of over 6 metres by a worker on to a concrete floor. The accident happened when the worker was installing a security system. The companies that were fined were the customer, the contractor firm and the firm to which the job had been sub-contracted – which was the injured man’s employer.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the customer had not requested a written risk assessment of the work from either the contractor or the sub-contractor. The contractor was understood to have carried out a general risk assessment relating to working at height but not one that related to this particular project. It’s understood that the sub-contracted firm was not aware of the contractor’s risk assessment. It was reported that neither company had a method statement detailing how the work was to be safely conducted.
Furthermore, the customer did not conduct safety inductions for contractors before the commencement of work on site or hold safety meetings once work was underway to check the ongoing safety of the work.
This comes as a salutary warning to construction firms of the extent of their health and safety responsibilities.
As ever, the HSE provides useful information:
- about working at height http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/
- about risk assessments http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/
- example risk assessments http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/casestudies/
For further information on insurance and risk management solutions for the construction industry, please contact Richard Gibson on 0116 2720770 or firstname.lastname@example.org