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Employer and landlord fined after employee falls through skylight 

Published: Tuesday, 17th October 2017

Two Birmingham businesses were fined a total of  £14,000 after a woman fell through a skylight during a rooftop photo shoot, at Birmingham Magistrates Court yesterday (16 October 2017).

Birmingham City Council brought the case against Boxxed Limited - based at 104-108 Floodgate Street, Digbeth - and HTF Media Limited - based at Unit F3 The Arch, 48-52 Floodgate Street, Digbeth - after a female employee fell more than 3 metres through a skylight into a common area of the two-storey building owned by Boxxed Ltd on 25 January 2016.

The accident happened during a photo shoot for HTF Media Limited’s website, on the flat roof of the offices, as the woman walked over one of three large roof skylights and fell 3.64 metres (11.9ft).

Both companies pleaded guilty to offences under health and safety legislation at an earlier hearing (3 August 2017).

Boxxed Ltd was prosecuted for one offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, for failing to ensure the safety of people not in their employment, by allowing them to go onto the roof without suitable precautions in place to prevent a fall. The company was fined £6,000 ordered to pay costs of £1,116. 

HTF Media Ltd was prosecuted for two offences under The Work at Height Regulations 2005, for failing to ensure work at height was properly planned and carried out safely, with suitable safety measures in place; and for failing to ensure there were suitable and sufficient measures to prevent a person falling a distance likely to cause personal injury. The company was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay to costs of £1,088.

The court heard that both defendants cooperated with the investigation.

Councillor Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This case shows what can happen if a business and landlord fail to ensure the safety of people on its premises, including work at height. This incident could easily have resulted in the employee sustaining serious or life changing injuries.

“Our officers will continue to take action where minimum standards of health and safety are not met or flouted.”