Unite has criticised a ‘paltry’ fine imposed on a company for health and safety breaches that led to the permanent impairment of a worker.
At Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday (May 11), Wallace Roofing and Building pleaded guilty to a number of charges under the Health & Safety at Work Act.
The charges were brought after an incident in September 2011, where a worker was buried alive in a collapsed trench on a site in Fife. He was left with punctured lungs, a broken collarbone, a broken shoulder and numerous broken ribs. The court heard that he had been left with permanent disfigurement and impairment.
The firm was fined just £14,000.
“Each sheriff has to judge the merits of each case, but £14,000 seems a paltry sum given the nature of what this worker has had to suffer,” said Unite regional co-ordinating officer Steven Dillon. “Our thoughts are with him, his friends and his family.
“There is no need for workers to be seriously injured and killed on construction sites. We need to end the culture of complacency and profit-before-people. Every worker deserves to return home at the end of their shift, free from injury and harm.
“We rely on the courts to protect workers, and to protect us all. Unite does not believe that a fine of £14,000 sends a strong enough message about the paramount importance of health and safety at work.”