Contracted employee suffered multiple fractures after seven metre fall…
A manufacturing firm in Essex has been prosecuted after a contractor employed by them suffered multiple injuries after falling seven metres from an unsecured platform. The 35-year-old accident victim was in the process of replacing a light fitting when the metal cage that he was using as a platform fell off a wooden pallet that had been raised by a crane vehicle.
The accident occurred at an industrial complex in Colchester on 16 November 2011 and after the fall the contractor was transported immediately to hospital where he needed emergency surgery and spent a total of 10 days while his injuries were tended to.
The man suffered fractures to his skull, leg, back and wrist in the fall and he remains on crutches to this day, he has not been able to return to work since the accident occurred almost a year ago. Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard that the manufacturing company that hired him had failed to ensure that the specific safety protocols for working at heights had been followed including properly planning and supervising the work and ensuring that the work was carried out in a safe manner.
The Health and Safety Executive investigation into the incident discovered that the makeshift platform that the man was working did not have the necessary fall prevention facilities in place and that the company didn’t have any kind of risk assessment or training for carrying out tasks like these.
The court decided to fine the company a total of £12,000 with £4,806 in costs after it pleaded guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 4(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.
HSE Inspector Paul Grover spoke after the hearing had been concluded:
“This incident resulted from the use of substandard and wholly inappropriate work equipment to perform a dangerous work operation, which was undertaken by untrained workers who lacked any supervision or instructions regarding a safe system of work.
“Working arrangements fell well below the required legal standards and these breaches of statutory provisions resulted in serious injuries of a potentially life-changing nature. Given the height the contractor fell from, the incident clearly had the potential to have fatal consequences.
“If appropriate work equipment had been used, together with a proper risk assessment, safe working procedures, training, information and supervision, the incident would have been entirely preventable.”
The HSE warn that falls from height remain the primary cause of serious injuries and fatalities in work-related accidents in the UK. The provisions of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and other relevant health and safety legislation are designed to deal with the elevated risks associated with this type of occupation.
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