£500k fine for Bulgarian construction firm over health and safety breaches

Fined after breaching the ‘Work at Height’ Health and Safety Regulation 2005, whilst working on the Closer to the Edge attraction

A construction firm from Bulgaria, has been fined £500,000 after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety regulations, whilst working on the ‘Closer to the Edge’ high rope attraction at Markeaton Park, in Derby.

A member of the public noticed that work from a height was being carried out on a pallet, sat on the forks of a telehandler, whilst the company, Walltopia, worked on the new attraction in 2015, Derby Magistrates’ Court was told.

The member of the public contacted Walltopia about their concerns but despite the company assuring the individual, they carried on working from unsafe heights.

Company fined over 'work at height' health and safety breaches

View of the entrance to Markeaton Park, Derby

The individual decided to report the dangers to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). They discovered that work was being carried out on a section of roof that was eleven metres off the ground and no proper safety measures were in place to stop the two workers from falling off the open edges.

The also found that the workers were getting on to the roof by climbing out of a cherry picker basket.

The company, which is based in Letnitsa, Bulgaria, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £500,000 and made to pay £8,013.25 in costs.

After the case, Lee Greatorex, an HSE Inspector said: “Using a pallet on a telehandler for planned work at height is an unacceptable means of access. It appears that the company failed to put in place control measures after being alerted about this.”

He added that when working at height, safety measures should always be carefully planned and put into place, to protect workers from the dangers and extreme risk of falling.

Mr Greatorex said: “In this case, someone could have suffered significant injuries, or death.”

Walltopia have worked around the world, on at least 1,500 projects and in total have built about 2.9m square feet of climbing areas.

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