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Construction firms fined £48,000 for worker injury at Winchester Station

Geoffrey Osborne Ltd and SSE Contracting Ltd have been fined a total of £48,000 and ordered to pay costs of £40,934 following a prosecution brought by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for breaches of health and safety law which led to an electrician being injured after falling from height at Winchester Station, Hampshire, in 2010.

On 9 December 2010, while rewiring an office within the station, an apprentice electrician employed by SSE Contracting fell over five metres through a ceiling onto a stairwell and suffered a dislocated elbow and a fractured foot. SSE Contracting had been sub-contracted by Geoffrey Osborne to complete electrical installation work as part of its refurbishment of Winchester Station.

The sentencing hearing at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court follows an investigation by ORR which found neither company had adequately planned for work taking place at height within the station. A detailed assessment of safety risks was not carried out and basic protective structures such as scaffold guardrails around the edge of the roof bordering the suspended ceiling were not installed. Both companies pleaded guilty to breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on 11 April 2013.

David Keay, ORR’s Head of Inspection, said:

"Geoffrey Osborne Ltd and SSE Contracting Ltd failed to work together and protect workers from the obvious safety risks of working at height in Winchester Station.
"This incident clearly demonstrates the need for all companies to take their responsibilities seriously, protecting workers with proper planning and assessment of risks, as well as installing basic safety measures such as scaffold guardrails. ORR will continue to press for further improvements in safety at rail construction sites, and if necessary, prosecute companies for criminal breaches in law.
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