Two construction firms based in Aberdeen were fined by the Health and Safety Executive for serious safety failings after a worker fell through a hole whilst working at a hotel in Market Street, Aberdeen and sustained life changing injuries.
The injured employee Scott Massie who was aged 37 at the time of the accident, had been employed by Riverside Constuction (Aberdeen) Ltd, which had been sub contracted by Aberdeen Fabrication Ltd, to work on a major building site project at a hotel now known as the Rox Hotel in Aberdeen.
Aberdeen Fabrication had been served with an Improvement Notice just a few weeks before the accident by the Health and Safety Executive, regarding failings in how the work was being carried out at height and gave them time to implement the changes required.
On the 13 October 2009 Scott Maisie had been replacing a floorboard over a hole on the first floor of the hotel, which was one of several holes created to hoist materials up through the four floors, when the floorboard fell through the hole causing Mr Maisie fell through the hole.
Mr Maisie fell nearly four metres severely injuring his back; unfortunately no one heard his cries for help so he had to crawl back up to the first floor to get help from his work colleagues.
He was rushed to hospital with eight fractures of the vertebrae and two broken ribs. Due to the severity of his injuries Mr Maisie had to remain in hospital for nearly eight weeks. He sustained permanent injury to his lower back and required physiotherapy to help him to learn to walk again.
An investigation was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive and it was established that Aberdeen Fabrication had failed to implement the safety issue mentioned in the Improvement Notice and both construction companies had failed to take sufficient steps to prevent workers from falling through the makeshift holes in the floors.
At Peterhead Sheriff Court Aberdeen Fabrication Ltd of Carden Place, Aberdeen, was prosecuted for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and after pleading guilty they were fined £45,000.
Riverside Construction (Aberdeen) Ltd of Bon-Accord Crescent, Aberdeen, was prosecuted for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. After pleading guilty they were fined £30,000.
After the hearing Health and Safety Executive Principal Inspector Isabelle Martin gave this statement:
“It was clear there was a risk of a fall through the holes in the floor at this site and had Aberdeen Fabrications Limited and Riverside Construction (Aberdeen) Limited taken the action required by HSE inspectors this incident could have been avoided.
“But as a result of the failings of his employer Riverside Construction and the principal contractor Aberdeen Fabrications, Mr Massie has suffered severe injuries from which he is unlikely to ever fully recover.
“Falls from height are the single biggest cause of workplace deaths, and there is no excuse for employers failing to protect workers who may be at risk from falls from open and unprotected edges, whether in floors or roofs, or any high level.”