Worker suffers multiple fractures after three metre fall… A company that manufactures timber buildings has been prosecuted by the HSE after one of their employees sustained serious injuries as a result of a fall from a canopy at a school in Shropshire.
The company had been hired to replace an existing canopy at the school that covered two temporary buildings. The 52-year-old accident victim was standing on the canopy with two of his colleagues when he fell a total of three metes landing on the concrete floor below on 8 August 2011.
The impact of the fall caused him to fracture his back, right wrist, breastbone and some ribs – he is still recovering from these injuries and he has not yet been able to resume his work for the company.
The subsequent investigation by the HSE of the accident revealed that the company had been negligent with regard to safety protocols for working at heights. They had failed to install any kind of edge protection to prevent a fall and although they had provided two soft landing bags to mitigate the impact of any fall, these had not been positioned in the area where the work was being undertaken.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court for failing to ensure the safety of their employee. The company was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay costs of £3,105.
HSE inspector Guy Dale commented after the hearing:
“This incident was entirely preventable. The company had obviously appreciated the risks of a fall, as shown by the provision of the landing bags, but it’s a shame they didn’t think to put them under the area it was most needed.
“Work at height is a high risk activity and needs to be properly planned. Had that happened, a man would not have been left with debilitating injuries.”
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