Defunct demolition company fined after fatal fall from height

A man has died falling from height, after the section of metal grating on a pipe bridge he was standing on gave way.

His employer, demolition contractor CBR02 Ltd, has been fined £5,000 for failing to record the “extremely hazardous condition” of the pipe bridge at Longannet Power Station in Fife, Scotland.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court heard that in February 2019, John Gary Robertson fell 30 feet from the pipe bridge and suffered multiple injuries as a result. He later died from his injuries.

A joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Police Scotland found that Robertson had been standing on a section of metal grating on the pipe bridge that was extremely corroded and it gave way.

It was found that CBR02 failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment at the site, as it did not mention the corrosion on the bridge.

The client on the job, Scottish Power, had previously highlighted the issue to the contractor. Despite that, CBR02 had failed to inform its employees of the bridge’s hazardous condition or prevent access to it.

CBR02 Limited of Hertford Road, Middlesex pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

HSE principal inspector David Charnock said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“In this case, adequate communication of suitable information and instructions would have made employees aware of the unsafe condition of the pipe bridge platform,” he added.

CBR02 entered into administration in November 2020, appointing Natalie Brady of Cornerstone Business Turnaround and Recovery to lead the process.

Construction News contacted Cornerstone Business Turnaround and Recovery, and Scottish Power for comment.

Falls from height are the biggest cause of death on construction sites, causing a quarter of fatalities in the year to March 2021.

Last year, No Falls Foundation chair Peter Bennett said all accidents result from failures in one of more of three key tasks – planning, organisation or management.

He said planning from the start of the process could help to lower the number of falls from height in the industry.

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