A construction firm has been fined for breaching health and safety regulations after a decorator was seriously injured in a fall.
Phillip Williams, 63, from Reading, fell through a poorly constructed guard rail on 30 August 2011.
He suffered a fractured hip, five broken ribs, and a chipped a bone in his spine. He also sustained internal bleeding and clotting surrounding his lungs due to the accident.
Mr Williams had been subcontracted to work on a property in Reading by head contractor W Pocock & Sons Ltd, a local firm.
The accident occurred as he walked to a first-floor light-well to speak to people working on the ground floor below. As he leant against the guard rail, it gave way and he plummeted to the ground.
He spent three weeks in hospital recovering, and was unable to return to work for a further three months.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that a previous guard rail had been removed and replaced to allow materials to be passed easily up to the first floor. The work caused the fixings to deteriorate, which made the replacement guard rail unstable.
W Pocock & Sons pleaded guilty to one charge of breaching the Work at Height Regulations, and were fined £5,000. The company was also ordered to pay £2,706 in court costs.
Following the hearing, James Powell, an HSE inspector, said: “Mr Williams sustained serious injuries as a result of his fall, which could easily have been avoided had the guard rail been adequately secured to ensure that it could not be displaced.
“It simply wasn’t up to the job, possibly as a result of the rail being removed and replaced on more than one occasion, and the subsequent deterioration this caused to the quality of the fitting.
“A thorough inspection of the guard rail after re-installation would have identified any weakness and could have saved Mr Williams a great deal of trauma. It underlines the need to routinely inspect fall protection equipment used for work at height.”