Worker lucky to survive after ten metre fall…
A construction company based in Hertfordshire has appeared in court after an employee sustained serious injuries when he fell ten metres after a platform collapsed in south London.
The 32-year-old accident victim was lucky to survive the incident in which he suffered broken vertebrae, a shattered elbow and a fractured pelvis and ribs. He also sustained damage to his internal organs as a result of the impact of the fall on 10 February 2009.
Southwark Crown Court was told that the accident victim was helping some colleagues to raise a temporary work platform on the day of the accident. The platform was being lifted by a crane using chains attached to the structure. However the operator of the crane was mistakenly instructed by a foreman to remove the chains while one of them was still attached to the platform which caused it to disintegrate and collapse.
Three workers had been standing on the platform at the time of the accident and while two of them managed to jump to safety without being injured, the accident victim was not so fortunate and fell onto a concrete staircase below while debris from the platform fell onto him. The accident victim is no longer able to work in the construction industry due to the extent of his injuries which include limited mobility in his right arm because of his elbow fracture.
The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the foreman failed to communicate properly with his team members and had not ensured all the lifting chains had been safely detached before issuing his orders.
The construction company was charged with failing to plan, manage and monitor the the potentially dangerous tasks specifically associated with working at heights and especially with regard to the use of temporary platform structures. They were fined £70,000 and ordered to pay an additional £22,193 in prosecution costs after admitting their guilt in breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
HSE Inspector Loraine Charles spoke after the hearing:
“The accident victim sustained serious injuries as a result of a fall that was entirely preventable had work involving temporary platforms been better planned and managed by the company.
“He fell a significant distance and could easily have been killed, as could his two colleagues who were with him on the platform.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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