Barnet’s housing firm fined for safety failings

A home provider company for a council has today been fined for safety failings when a heating engineer was found dead in a communal boiler house at one of their housing estates.

The body of the victim was discovered in the boiler house on 9 August 2011. He had been working alone at height when he fell and from that sustained severe head injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had investigated and after this has prosecuted the homing company.

The court heard this week that the victim had been in charge of the boiler house for 21 years with the homes company and before that with the council. He had lone worker status and had checked in with his supervisor in august. He had then gone to the communal boiler area to repair a leak.

The next day his supervisor realised no message has been left by the victim checking out after yesterdays shift. They failed to find him at his own home and the search then turned to the boiler room, where the body was found at the bottom of the scaffold.

There was nobody around to witness the events unfolding but the evidence was that he was using a mixture of fixed and mobile tower scaffolding. The HSE found the mobile scaffold had not properly been erected and had missing brakes and guard rails.

The HSE also identified that their wasn’t a proper risk assessment bearing in mind that he was a lone worker.

The company accepted that within the boiler house Mr Young had unrestricted access to a ladder and to a mobile tower scaffold and that he had not received appropriate training. The company also accepted that it did not have adequate arrangements for the control of maintenance work, and that this breach was a cause of the victims death.

Barnet Homes Ltd, of Barnet House, High Road, Barnet, was fined £37,000 and ordered to pay £75,000 in full costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”

Source: HSE