London construction firm Leyland SDM (LSDM) Limited has been fined £450,000 for safety failings after four workers suffered serious injuries when they fell almost four metres while carrying a ventilation unit.
LSDM had been in the process of redeveloping a warehouse in Wembley. However, when four workers tried to move a ventilation unit into position, the working platform became overloaded and gave way.
Neither the work at height nor the lifting operations were planned properly. Two of the four injured men suffered leg fractures, while a broken collar bone were among the other injuries caused by the incident.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the company failed to manage the risks when working at height and carrying out the lifting operation. The company also failed to have the right level of trained personnel and supervision in place to carry out these tasks safely and effectively.
At Westminster Magistrates Court, LSDM of Fourth Way, Wembley pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 4 (1) of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992. As well as the £450,000 fine, the firm was ordered to pay costs of £1,038.
HSE inspector Jack Wilby said: “The safety failings by this company are severe and it is lucky that the injuries were not more severe.
“This incident highlights the importance of planning work, in this case both for lifting operations and working from height, to ensure it is carried out safely.”