Fall protection nets might have prevented accident…
The owner of a construction business in Leicestershire has been prosecuted by the HSE after two self-employed builders fell from scaffolding causing them serious injuries.
The two men were contracted to help with the construction of houses at a site in Normanton near Bottesford. The accident occurred on 8 December 2011 as the two men were working on fitting a wall plate and completing brickwork at the top level of the house.
As one of the men opened the scaffold’s loading gate while waiting for another man below to put some mortar on it, he and his colleague suddenly felt the scaffold shaking leading to their fall to the first floor of the house, a drop of about two metres.
One of the men suffered severe bruising as well as well as some tissue damage to his hip, pelvis and neck. He also had sharp cuts and lacerations to his face and arms and stomach. He has been able to return to work since the accident but he still requires physiotherapy to cope with the injuries he sustained in the accident. His colleagues sustained similar injuries but has not yet recuperated to such an extent that he can return to full employment.
Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard that the subsequent HSE investigation into the accident discovered that although the company typically had a policy of installing fall protection nets, in this instance the fall risk area was left unprotected up to the time of the accident. The HSE are adamant that with regard to the dangerous occupation of working at heights there can be no shortcuts or oversights.
The construction company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £6,500 and ordered it to pay costs of £1,836.
HSE inspector Tony Mitchell spoke after the hearing:
“This incident could have been prevented by thinking through the need for fall protection for the whole job, not just part of it. This was a high-risk activity and builders should not become complacent about ensuring that adequate safety measures are in place for the full duration of the work.
“Unfortunately, this lack of forethought resulted in two men receiving debilitating injuries.”
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