News Firm Fined After 10kg Stone Falls Worker’s Head

A 56-year-old self-employed construction worker suffered a serious head injury and permanent personality changes after a 10kg stone fell nearly three metres hitting him on the head at a building site in Abbots Leigh, near Bristol.

North Somerset Magistrates’ Court heard that Paul Hinton of Bristol had been hired by Elegance Building Contractors Ltd to work at a domestic property on 6 September 2010. The work included raising the roof level of the building and cladding part of the property with feature stonework.

Mr Hinton, who was not wearing a hard hat at the time of the incident, was airlifted to hospital by air ambulance and was off work until early May 2011.

Elegance Building Contractors Ltd, of Princess Victoria Street, Bristol, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 10 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,733 at the hearing on Friday 23 September.

The company used subcontractors for the work but failed to ensure brick guards were installed on the scaffolding, which are designed to stop materials falling below.

Health and Safety Executive inspector, Mark Renouf, said: “This tragic incident could easily have been avoided if the brick guards or similar had been fitted to the scaffold.

“Mr Hinton has suffered major injuries and the incident could very well have led to a fatality. The use of hard hats was not common on this site however the greater failing is not stopping materials from falling in the first place.

“Building companies must learn from this case and make sure basic safety precautions are observed on sites.”

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