Builder fined after worker fractured skull falling from height

A Bristol-based builder has been fined after a subcontractor fell through a sky light and fractured his skull.

Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard that, in July 2017, sole trader Ian Pitman had been contracted to renew guttering between two buildings in Chipping Sodbury, near Bristol. While fitting a roof panel back into place, one of his subcontractors fell backwards through a sky light, hit the rail of a lift truck and landed on a concrete floor 5 metres below. He suffered multiple injuries including a fractured skull and broken ribs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Pitman had failed to ensure that the work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and that the health and safety of anyone not working for him was not at risk.

Ian Pitman of Kingston St Michael, pleaded guilty to contravening Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He received a four-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months and given 180 hours of unpaid community work. He was ordered to pay costs of £13,500 and a victim surcharge of £115.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Stacey Gamwell, said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. This serious incident could have been avoided if basic safeguards had been put in place. HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”