A business in the south-east has been penalised after it was found to have played some part in an accident suffered by one of its workers, who fell from a height of about 4.5 metres during the refurbishment of a gym.
MJM Fitout had been hired to carry out a renovation of a gym in central London and among its workforce was a Romanian man who does not want to be named. After plummeting from a scaffold tower to the ground below, he was diagnosed with two fractured vertebrae and five broken ribs.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) immediately launched an investigation and found the scaffolding had been built to help him work above ground, but it later discovered none of the men working on the project were qualified to erect such a tower.
It was claimed in court by the HSE that the firm could have prevented the accident had it made an attempt to plan, manage and monitor the work being carried out.
HSE inspector Keith Levart said: "The temporary staff had effectively been left to their own devices and were working in an unplanned and unsafe manner. It illustrates the clear need for companies to have practical arrangements in place to ensure that all personnel involved in and undertaking construction work understand what is expected of them, and are able to co-operate and communicate with one another."
As well as the staff being unqualified to construct a scaffold tower, the company had not appointed a supervisor to oversee this work in the first place.
MJM Fitout pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and was fined £8,000. It was also told it must pay costs of £3,500.
The fate of the business could serve as a useful reminder for other firms working on similar projects that they must focus on safety at all times. Failure to do so may land them in court, just as the Kent-based company was.