Boy Sustains Life-Changing Injuries after Falling from Scaffolding
A 12-year-old boy suffered severe injuries after he fell from scaffolding erected by an insulation contractor in Cwmbran, South Wales.
The youngster and a friend managed to gain access to the structure through an unsecured ladder. After climbing to a height of 10 metres the ladder slipped, which caused him to lose control and fall. His injuries have required extensive medical treatment, and despite several operations, the boy’s injuries remain life-changing.
An investigation into the incident, conducted by the Health and Safety Executive, found that workers had failed to adequately secure on-site equipment.
The insulation contractor pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company were fined £160,000 and ordered to pay £22,310 in additional costs.
The HSE inspector heading the case, Michael Batt, commented: “The death or injury of a child is particularly tragic and a lot of thought must go into securing construction sites. Children do not perceive danger as adults do. This incident could have been prevented by removal of the ladder completely or installing an appropriately sized ladder guard to cover the full width of the rungs.”
Construction Employee Sustained Serious Electrical Burns
A demolition worker employed by a subcontractor experienced life-threatening burns after coming in to contact with live electrical equipment.
The worker and a colleague had been working at a former molecular products site in Essex, removing electrical distribution equipment. Both workers stated that the leading contractor had confirmed that the equipment in question had been disconnected. Despite the contractors claim, the unit remained live.
To assure his colleague, the victim threw a wrecking bar at exposed wires in the 400-volt air conditioning unit which caused a flashover fire and temperatures that rose to a couple of thousand degrees. The worker sustained serious burn injuries that continue to complicate his health and quality of life.
An investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive found that the principal contractor did not have suitable control measures in place and failed to ensure the safety of the site and its equipment.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (I) of the Electricity at Work Regulations, received an £80,000 fine and were ordered to pay costs of £3,882.65.
The subcontractor also pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company were fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3816.60.
Leading HSE inspector Adam Hills commented: “This incident has had a significant impact on [the victim’s] life and the injuries could so very easily have been fatal.”
Death of a 14-Year-Old Girl at the Mental Health Facility
A healthcare provider has been fined for health and safety failures that contributed to the death of a 14-year-old girl in their care. The teen, who had a history of complex mental health issues was found in her room after an apparent suicide attempt. She died the following day after life support was withdrawn.
A jury inquest in 2016 heard that numerous health and safety failures, including inadequate training and inaction, contributed to her death. The jury agreed that the teen may have lived if she had received proper care, and concluded that the provider had failed to discharge its duty to ensure people were not exposed to risk.
The provider pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. They have been fined £300,000, ordered to pay costs of £65,801.38 and to pay a £120 victim surcharge.
HSE Inspector Michelle Canning, who oversaw the case stated: “This is a heart-breaking case. Our detailed investigation uncovered a number of failures. Our thoughts remain with [the victim’s] family and we are so very sorry for their loss.”