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Written by
on 17 February 2012

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An unfortunate incident has changed the lives of one construction worker who was severely injured while working in Belgravia. Vasile Lonel Vatca, a 28 year old man from Romania, was working on the refurbishment project which included replacing the roof and constructing a new basement. Mr Vatca was working on the roof making sure the area was clear of debris after some work had been completed.  It was during this task that he fell seven meters to the floor.

The Health and Safety Executive investigated the accident and found that the roof which Mr Vatca was working on no longer had the scaffolding in place which was there previously. The scaffold had been put in place to protect the contractors while they worked on the roof but had been taken down a month before the accident. There was some fall safety equipment being used but this was found to be inadequate.

Tragic Incident Resulted in Life Changing Injuries

As the scaffolding had been removed before Mr Vatca began clearing up the debris the employee was using a ladder to get up and down. As he began his descent down from the roof the ladder came away from the building which resulted in Mr Vatca losing his footing and falling approximately seven meters to the floor below.

As a result of the fall the employee was left with a broken leg, a broken heel and a broken wrist. He spent a week in the hospital and has not been able to return to work since the accident which happened back in March 2011. Mr Vatca has since been registered as disabled and the judge took the extent of his injuries into account when sentencing the London construction firm, R & G Construction Ltd.

Construction Specific Health and Safety Services are Available

Speaking after the sentencing which took place at Westminster Magistrates Court a HSE inspector spoke about the duties surrounding construction firms when it comes to health and safety. It is the duty of companies to protect their workers from falls and safety equipment must be used to reduce the risks. Planning, organising and risk assessments can all help to prevent accidents and these simple procedures could have prevented the incident which has changed Mr Vatca’s life.

R & G Construction Ltd based in Harrow were fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £7,515 in costs after they were found guilty for breaching two regulations of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. If the firm had invested a little more time and money into their health and safety services the whole incident could have been avoided.

Take Action and Protect Against Injuries and Work Related Deaths

If you are in the construction industry it is a good idea to do all you can to follow the laws and regulations regarding safety. A good idea is to ask health and safety consultants to carry out an audit to show areas of your strengths and any weaknesses which need attending too. Call 0800 1488 677 to request an audit to find out more about the construction health and safety services which are readily available.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.