Shipyard company had been warned several times about risks of working at heights… An apprentice worker sustained serious injuries after falling from scaffolding that was not safely secured at a shipyard in Falmouth.
Truro Magistrates’ Court heard that the young man, who was just 19 at the time of the accident, badly damaged his knees as a result of the fall.
The apprentice had been working in the dry dock area of the shipyard and was stripping away plastic tenting material from a boat when the scaffolding boards supporting him tipped and he fell two metres to the dock floor below. He needed an intensive course of physiotherapy in order to improve the condition of his knees after the accident.
The HSE investigation into the apprentice’s fall found that the company who owned the shipyard had previously been warned on several occasions about the dangers associated with working from heights. They had been issued with a total of four Improvement Notices and one Prohibition Notice by the HSE relating to working at heights since 2009.
Melissa Lai-Hung, a HSE Inspector who investigated this case spoke after the hearing in Truro:
“The apprentice was unaware that the scaffold planks were insecure and there were no safety rails in place.
“The company provided no safe working method for its workforce, there was no risk assessment for the work and a lack of information, training, instruction and supervision at the site. This incident could easily have had much more serious consequences for the apprentice.”
The shipyard company pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £6,288 in costs.