A church in London faced prosecution and a fine after a worker was injured in a fall from height from a balcony as he carried out on-site refurbishment work, legal experts recently reported.
St Paul’s church, located in Onslow Square, was the location of the incident, according to personal injury lawyers familiar with the plight of the as-yet unnamed self-employed joiner who fell nearly three metres from the balcony and sustained such severe injury as to have left him paralysed from below the waist, and suffering a broken back, shoulder, and three broken ribs. The Health and Safety Executive became involved after the incident, as HSE investigators examined the worksite and found that the balcony’s previous safety barrier had been replaced with a railing that had been set much lower in order to facilitate the movement of material around the worksite.
The HSE prosecuted the church at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for allowing the higher, safer railing to be replaced with the inadequate one, with the Parochial Church Council for the house of worship admitting to violating health and safety regulations at the hearing. The church was given a fine of £5,000 and was also instructed to pay a total of £4,457.60 in court costs as well.
Falls from height are some of the most serious types of personal injury at work that can occur. Official figures indicate that nearly four thousand individuals were injured in such incidents just last year, with thirty eight people suffering fatal injuries in falls from height.