School Fined for Employee Injury

August 16th, 2016 | By injuryclaims

A school in Essex has been issued a five-figure fine by the Chelmsford Crown Court after one of their employees sustained severe injuries due to falling from a roof. 

The accident occurred in February 2015 when Keith Chandler, a sixty-three year-old maintenance engineer at the Brentwood School in Essex, was restoring a Grade II listed building. Keith climbed a ladder to reach access the roof such that he could repair a bay window, but he tragically lost his footing and fell 2.6 metres to the ground below. 

The fall caused Keith to damage five vertebrae, bruise a kidney and sustain a fracture to his shoulder. Though Keith returned to work at the school just six weeks after the accident, he is not able to carry out his full range of duties, such as working at a height or carrying heavy loads. His personal life has also been affected, as he can no longer play with his grandchildren. 

An investigation into the circumstances of the accident was conducted by the Health and Safety Executive. It found that no proper risk assessment was conducted, and that there were no guardrails around the building to prevent such accidents. Additionally, there was a lack of adequate supervision of the maintenance engineers. 

The HSE prosecuted the Brentwood School Charitable Incorporated Organisation for breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. This was in spite of the the school’s comprehensive safety policy – policies the HSE commented were not adequately enforced during restoration. 

Earlier this month, a hearing was conducted at the Chelmsford Crown Court. Judge Charles Gratwicke heard evidence from Anthony Bridger, a former maintenance manager, who said that it was difficult to properly enforce safety regulations during the reconstruction as the school was old “just wanted to get on with the job in the easiest way”.

The school’s trust admitted liability for the accident, conceding that there was a lack of supervision on the site. Judge Gratwicke proceeded to fine the school £40,000 for their negligence. 

Categories: Construction Injury Claims, Work Injury Claims

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