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Fine for Elegance Building Contractors Ltd

Paul Hinton from Bristol suffered a serious head injury as well as permanent personality changes after a 10kg stone fell almost three metres and hit him on the head whilst he was working on a building site.

On 6 September 2010, Hinton, a 56-year-old self-employed construction worker had been hired by Elegance Building Contractors Ltd. to work at a domestic property in Abbots Leigh. The work involved cladding part of the house with feature stonework and raising the roof level; the construction worker was not wearing a hard hat at the time of the incident.

Mr Hinton was airlifted to hospital by the air ambulance and was unable to work again until early May 2011.
North Somerset Magistrates’ Court heard that although Elegance Building Contractors Ltd. used subcontractors for the work, they failed to ensure that brick guards which are designed to stop materials falling were installed on the scaffolding at the site.

Following the hearing, a Health and Safety Executive Inspector commented that if brick guards or a suitable alternative had been fitted to the scaffold at the site, this accident could not have happened.

Mr Hinton suffered major injuries and trauma but the incident could have been much worse and resulted in a fatality. Although the use of hard hats was not common practice on this particular site, the greater failing is that materials were not prevented from falling in the first place.

The building trade should take heed from this case and ensure that safety measures are in place on all sites at all times.
Elegance Building Contractors Ltd, of Princess Victoria Street, Bristol, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 10 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,733 at the hearing on Friday 23 September.