Working at Height Safety News Update

September 18, 2013 0 Comment(s) News, Safety Working at Height,
Once you get up the ladder... Be safe or be either badly injured or sued!On a serious note, please learn from others mistakes, falls from height are the biggest single cause of workplace deaths in Great Britain.

Hampshire firm in court after worker's fall

17 September 2013
A south-west Hampshire firm has been fined after an employee fractured his forearm in a two metre fall from an unguarded office roof that had been used to store boxes.Cannon Technologies Ltd, of New Milton, had been using the internal area over the office as an improvised storage area and it was commonplace for staff to use a set of steps to climb up to get flat packed boxes.West Hampshire Magistrates heard today (17 Sept) that on 9 July 2012, a 27 year-old worker, who has asked not to be named, fell from the roof when his foot got tangled in a coil of wires. As well as injuring his forearm, which will still not fully straighten, he also broke a toe.The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Cannon Technologies Ltd for safety failings. HSE found the company, which makes enclosure systems for data centres, IT and telecoms, had failed to provide any edge protection around the office roof and a better method of accessing the area.The court was told the employee used a set of airplane steps to get to the roof and had passed down the flat-packed boxes that were needed. As he started to climb back onto the steps, his foot became caught in the wire, causing him to lose his balance. The steps rocked from side to side before toppling over and he fell to the packing room floor. He has since returned to work.Cannon Technologies Ltd, of Queensway, New Milton, was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £2,740 in costs after admitting a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.After the hearing, HSE Inspector Rob Hassell said:"This was a preventable incident and an avoidable injury if only the company had employed good sense and opened their eyes to the obvious risks."Installing suitable protection around the edge and a safer method of getting up and down again from the roof was quite straightforward and Cannon Technologies Ltd has since put these in place."It is a reminder though that just because something has become custom and practice, does not mean that employees and companies should not question existing work methods."Falling from height remains one of the common causes of deaths and injury and employers must ensure they identify what safety precautions they need to take and then implement them."HSE statistics show that 40 workers were killed and more than 3,400 were seriously injured in falls from height in 2011/12.

Roofing firm in court over Chorley school roof fall

16 September 2013
A roofing firm has been fined for safety failings after a worker sustained severe injuries when he fell through a primary school roof in Chorley.The 51-year-old from Kirkby, who has asked not to be named, suffered fractures to his spine, breastbone and ribs in the incident at St Marys Primary School, and narrowly avoided being paralysed.St Helens-based W Swindells & Son (Roofing) Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the firm had failed to put measures in place to prevent workers falling through skylights.
Leyland Magistrates' Court was told that the firm had been hired to replace the roof on the school on Hornchurch Drive in Chorley. The skylights had been removed and the roof felted over, before another team was sent up to install new tiles.
The worker stepped backwards onto the unsupported felt over a skylight hole and fell three metres to the floor below, striking a partition wall as he fell.He was in hospital for two months and will never be able to return to work due to the extent of his injuries. His wife has also had to give up work to care for him.The court heard his injuries could have been avoided if Swindells had planned the work properly and arranged for pieces of plywood to be put over the skylight holes.W Swindells & Son (Roofing) Ltd, of Hill School Road in St Helens, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £3,153 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 on 13 September 2013.Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Chris Hatton said:"The worker could easily have been killed when he fell through the roof and will be affected by his injuries for the rest of his life."If the company had taken the simple measure of fitting pieces of plywood over the holes then his injuries could have been avoided, but it failed to properly plan the work and anticipate the dangers."Sadly these types of incidents are all too common in the construction industry and firms need to do more to look after the safety of people working at height."Falls from height are the biggest single cause of workplace deaths in Great Britain. Information on preventing them is available at

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