A Leicestershire house builder has been fined after two self-employed bricklayers fell more than two metres from a scaffold, reports the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Darren Bird and James Allies were contracted to help build houses at a small development in Normanton, near Bottesford, by Cairns Heritage Homes No2 Limited.

On 8 December 2011 the two men were fitting a wall plate and finishing off the brickwork near the top of a house. Mr Bird had opened the scaffold’s loading bay gate ready for a telehandler to lift mortar on to it when he and Mr Allies felt the scaffold shake. Mr Bird fell against Mr Allies, who was crouching down, and both men fell into the first floor of the house.

Mr Bird, 43, of Newstead Village, Nottingham, suffered severe bruising and tissue damage to his hip, pelvis and neck and lacerations to his face, arm and stomach. He recently returned to work but will require long-term physiotherapy.

Mr Allies, 44, of Wollaton, Nottingham, suffered muscle and nerve damage to his neck and back and bruised his shoulder, leg, face and arms. He has not yet returned to work.

Leicester Magistrates were told that a HSE investigation found that although the company had a policy of installing fall protection nets when installing roof trusses, the internal fall risk area was left unprotected until that stage.

Cairns Heritage Homes No2 Limited, of Old Parsonage Lane, Horton, Loughborough, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Magistrates fined the company £6,500 and ordered it to pay costs of £1,836

After the hearing, HSE inspector Tony Mitchell said:

“This incident could have been prevented by thinking through the need for fall protection for the whole job, not just part of it. This was a high-risk activity and builders should not become complacent about ensuring that adequate safety measures are in place for the full duration of the work.

“Unfortunately, this lack of forethought resulted in two men receiving debilitating injuries.”