Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 28th April 2016, Mark Smith, aged 36, fell 4.8 metres through an unprotected opening while working at Stone Gappe Hall in Lothersdale. The house is owned by a director of the McAlpine group of companies.Mr Smith was attaching straps to a water tank while preparing to move it to a lower floor of a water tower at the property, in order to paint the floor.

An investigation by the HSE found that the IP fell through an opening that did not have fixed edge protection. He was taken to hospital with several broken bones and continues to suffer from psychological damage and has not been unable to return to work, following the injury.

The Director pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974, Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £260,000 and ordered to pay £38,299 in costs.

HSE inspector said “This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had undertaken a thorough risk assessment and installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”

Stone Gappe Hall is considered to be the model for Gateshead Hall, the childhood home of Jane Eyre, as author Charlotte Brontë briefly worked as a governess there (Image of Stone Gappe Hall reproduced from Wikipedia (Nthep) under creative commons license)