Stafford Magistrates’ Court has fined a local council £20,000 with full costs of £1,922 and a victim surcharge of £120 after breaching Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Regulation 3(1) (a) and Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 6(3).
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation reported how a 33 year old employee was working in a cage on top of a manually operated platform (tallescope) to carry out some maintenance in a local theatre.
The tallescope was approximately 4.5 metres off the ground.
A colleague was manually manoeuvring the platform into position when it over turned, causing the worker to fall and fracture his back.
The court was told that an appropriate risk assessment had not been carried out and had it been done, it would have been apparent that the tallescope was unsuitable for the job. Manufacturer’s instructions clearly stated that the equipment should not be moved when a person or heavy load was in the basket.
After the hearing HSE inspector Katherine Blunt said: “This accident was entirely preventable. The tallescope should not have been moved with anyone in the cage”.
“Falls from height are the most common cause of fatalities at work. It is imperative that significant risks are identified and suitable control measures to be put in place to eliminate or reduce such risks.”
For further information on working safely at heights click here.