£9,000 fine for builder who failed to prevent customer’s fall

A Sheffield builder has found out the hard way what can happen if you fail to follow even the most basis health and safety training. In 2010, he was working on a domestic refurbishment in Sheffield, and replaced the customer’s staircase. Unfortunately, he failed to fit a temporary handrail and left the staircase open.

The owner of the house later suffered a fall from the top of the staircase, crashing three metres to the floor below. He sustained multiple and serious injuries that required a lengthy stay in hospital, affecting his family life as well as his business. Injuries to his spine meant that he had to learn to walk again, while his head injuries have left him with persistent balance problems.

The builder did report the incident to the HSE, who found that a temporary handrail could have easily prevented the accident, which could have cost the man his life. It may be easy to assume that most accidents in the construction industry concern employees, but this incident just goes to show that everyone’s safety is put at risk by such breaches. Sadly, many accidents such as this one could have been avoided, simply by complying to simple health and safety principles.