Massive fine for principal contractor following the death of one of their contractors

By IANPEMBERTON | Published: 10/10/2012

Watkin Jones & Son Ltd, a principal contractor in the building of a shopping centre in North Wales has been fined £545,000 following the death of one of their contractors. The individual was working for a sub-contractor undertaking roof work when he fell 6 metres through an unguarded opening. The worker died on the 17 December 2009 after spending several months in hospital following the accident.

Following the prosecution HSE inspector Chris Wilcox said “Falls from height are an alarmingly common cause of death and serious injury. This tragic case should remind all contractors that work at height must be managed effectively and adequate safeguards should be in place to prevent falls.”

In mitigation, the Watkin Jones & Son Ltd stated that it takes health and safety very seriously but accepted that failings occurred onsite in relation to this incident.

This is not to single out one company, such as Watkin Jones & Son Ltd. Sadly, this type of tragic occurrence can affect all companies.

It is essential that all contractor employees have the correct health and safety training for the tasks they perform on site. A lack of expertise in both the management and the execution of jobs is a common root cause in contractor accidents.