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Kier fined £200k after worker suffers life-changing injuries

Kier has been fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches that led to a worker suffering “life-changing” head injuries.

Southwark Crown Court heard how on 1 December 2014 Kier Facilities Services asked its subcontractor JHH Engineering to repair a roof at Downsell Primary School (pictured) in north-east London.

While working on the roof, a JHH employee fell and suffered severe head injuries.

As a result of the fall, the worker has been left with severe cognitive impairment including memory loss, behavioural and mood changes, and reduced day-to-day independence.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that specific site planning was not requested from JHH nor provided, and that the work was not monitored.

The HSE also found Kier had failed to implement its own work-at-height procedures and ensure subcontractors were vetted.

It was also discovered that the roof was accessed by an employee of JHH Engineering using an unsecured, damaged ladder that was not long enough and was missing its rubber feet and stability bar.

No harness was found to have been used, and the worker had not used the fall restraint system provided by Kier.

HSE inspector Charles Linfoot said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of serious injury and death in the UK.

“All work at height, including that of subcontractors, should be properly planned, organised and monitored to ensure that it is undertaken by workers who are sufficiently trained and supervised using appropriate equipment.”

JHH Engineering Ltd of Mechanics Workshop, New Lanark, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of HSWA 1974. It was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,967.

Kier pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of HSWA 1974. It was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,923.

Kier Group safety, health, environment and assurance director John Edwards said: “Operating a safe and sustainable business is Kier’s number one priority and we pride ourselves on having developed an industry-leading reputation for our rigorous approach to managing safety issues.

“On this occasion our usual high standards were not met and we will continue to ensure we focus on making improvements and introducing innovative solutions to health and safety challenges.”

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