£200k Fine Levied for Working at Height Violation

Staircraft Group Limited—a carpentry and joinery company— was fined after an employee working unsecured on the forks of a forklift fell 3.5 metres to the ground.

The company was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,477.93. The incident took place at the company’s head office site in Coventry on 14th June 2021.

The employee was attempting to clean office windows at height from an unsecured stillage on the forks of a forklift. The stillage tipped, causing the employee to fall. The worker sustained a broken leg and injured his elbow.

An investigation by the HSE found that the company failed to identify that using a stillage to lift someone on the forks of a forklift was unsafe. Additionally, the company lacked sufficient employee training on the dangers of working at height and did not have risk assessments in place.

Staircraft Group Limited ultimately pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

What Could Have Been Done?

Staircraft Group Limited’s failure to keep its employees safe while working from height demonstrates what can go wrong should employers not abide by HSE regulations. In contrast, employers can fulfil their legal obligations by ensuring that work at height is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.

Further, it’s critical for employers to conduct thorough risk assessments and employee training to help prevent worker injuries and ensure adequate insurance cover.

Contact our risk management team for more guidance and resources to help improve health and safety in your business.