South East Wales

Building firm Jehu handed £143,000 Cardiff lift fall fine

Pembroke House in Cardiff Image copyright Media Wales

A building firm has been fined £143,000 after a grandfather suffered a broken back in a fall down a liftshaft.

Stephen Harrison, 57, fell 12ft (3.6m) into a skip of rubble and only survived because he was wearing a hard hat, Newport Crown Court heard.

He had been working for Jehu Project Services with his son Stuart as they helped renovate Pembroke House in Pontcanna, Cardiff, last July.

Jehu admitted two charges of breaching health and safety regulations.

The two men, who ran Cardiff Drilling and Sawing Ltd together, were asked to work on cutting through walls next to an old lift shaft so the building could be extended.

But the disused shaft - which became "nothing more than a hole in the floor" - was only fenced off by plastic "keep out" tape.

'Stumbled'

The court heard beanbags which had been placed below in case of a fall were replaced with a skip for builders to throw rubble down into.

Mr Harrison was climbing scaffolding inside the building when he stepped on a loose breeze block and stumbled backwards into the tape - and tumbled through the lift shaft into the skip full of rubble.

He spent 18 days at Cardiff's University Hospital of Wales for "very serious injuries" including inoperable hernias and was told he would never be able to work in manual labour again.

The court heard Bridgend-based Jehu, run by brothers Marc Jehu and Simon Jehu, had failed to properly plan work that was being carried out on site.

Judge John Vosper QC ruled the company should have provided proper access to the lift shaft and had used "inadequate" fencing around it.

He said: "The barriers around the lift shaft should have been further away from the shaft as industry standards indicate.

"The barriers themselves would not stop a person falling through if they slipped or were pushed."

Jehu was also ordered to pay more than £15,000 in costs

Related Topics