Working at Height Safety News Update

October 24, 2013 0 Comment(s) News, Safety Working at Height,

Air conditioning firm fined after apprentice falls through ceiling

£16k and an injured worker for the sake of a few safety boards!An air conditioning company has been fined after an apprentice engineer broke his arm when he fell three metres through a fragile plasterboard ceiling.The 20-year-old from Wrexham, who does not wish to be identified, was installing an air conditioning system in the loft space above an office at Llaneurgain House in Northop when the incident happened on 14 March 2012.Select Air Services Limited was prosecuted on Friday (11 October) by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the firm had failed to put adequate safety measures in place.Mold Magistrates' Court heard the company had not provided enough crawling boards, which meant employees had to step from joist to joist to carry out the work. As a result, there was nothing to prevent the young worker from falling through the fragile plasterboard when he lost his footing.He fell three metres to the floor below, broke his left arm and was off work for ten weeks as a result of his injuries.Select Air Services Limited, of Sefton Business Park, Olympic Way, Aintree, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £6,600 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Chris Wilcox said:"The risks associated with falling through a ceiling are something most of us would recognise from our own lofts at home, yet Select Air Services Limited failed to implement basic safety measures to minimise the risk of falls."The workers were installing the air conditioning system above a fragile plasterboard ceiling but their employer neglected to plan the work properly and provide simple safeguards such as crawling boards or safety decking that could have prevented a fall."The dangers of working at height are well known and this prosecution should serve as a reminder to all contractors to ensure work is properly planned and robust safety precautions are put in place. Employers have a legal duty to manage safety and failing to do so too often ends in tragedy."

Chemical company fined after worker injured by fall

Very lucky when he fell off the ladder his fall was broken, else it could have been much worse, still several thousands in fines and costs and an injured worker off for two months though!A Dumfries company has been fined for safety failings after a 70 year-old worker fell more than four metres from a ladder at the firm’s animal-rendering plant in Motherwell.Experienced pipe fitter Matthew Maxwell, had climbed to the top of a ladder to measure up a section of pipework which was to be replaced at the Omoa Works site of Dundas Chemical Company (Mosspark) Ltd, in Newarthill, but as he reached out to take the measurement, the ladder slipped.Both he and the ladder slid down the wall until the top of the ladder hit a cable tray and bounced up into the air. Mr Maxwell was thrown off and hit the ground, striking his head as he fell.He sustained bruising to his ribcage, a sprained thumb and a cut eye. Mr Maxwell was able to return to work after seven weeks.Airdrie Sheriff Court was today (15 Oct0ber) told the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had investigated the incident, on 23 May 2012, and found the company, which processes animal by-products, had failed to provide a safe system for working at height with ladders.The court heard Mr Maxwell, a part-time pipe fitter with Dundas since 2008, had attempted to measure some pipework he was due to replace at a later date. He was working alone and unsupervised.HSE also found the company had failed to put processes in place to ensure that workers did not undertake activities that could put them at risk if working alone, and that no suitable training or supervision for working at height with ladders was in place.In addition, there was no ladder register in place which would have allowed the company to monitor the condition of the ladders or maintain them in a safe condition.Dundas Chemical Company (Mosspark) Limited, of Annan Road, Mosspark, Dumfries, was fined £8,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.Following the case, HSE Inspector Eve Macready said:"This was an entirely preventable incident and one which could have been even more serious. It was fortunate that Mr Maxwell’s fall was, in effect, broken when the ladder hit the cable tray."The risks of working at height are well known and are relatively simple to manage. By failing to have suitable risk assessment and safe working practices in place at the Omoa Works factory, Dundas Chemical Company (Mosspark) Limited put Mr Maxwell at unnecessary risk of injury."To compound the issue, by not having a procedure in place to properly assess and register the condition of its ladders, the company also failed to ensure that equipment was safe to use."

Safety failings led to fractured skull for new worker

£19k and this too could have been a lot worse for the sake of a few boards...A Driffield roofing company has appeared in court for safety failings after a young worker suffered a fractured skull just weeks after being hired.The worker, who does not wish to be named, was 20 years old and had started his job with Dodds Roofing Services Ltd barely a month before the incident on 29 September 2011.He was one of four employees installing 25 solar panels on the roof of a farm in Tibthorpe, East Yorkshire, when he fell through a rooflight and hit the concrete floor three metres below. He suffered a fractured skull and temporary partial hearing loss, but has since made a good recovery and returned to work.The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and today (21 Oct) prosecuted Dodds Roofing Services Ltd at Bridlington Magistrates’ Court.The court was told that the firm had provided a scaffold and crawling boards on the outside of the farm building, but had failed to act to adequately prevent a fall or to provide safety measures internally, such as nets or a scaffold, to mitigate the effects of a fall.Dodds Roofing Services Ltd, of The Renewable Energy Centre, Bainton, Driffield, East Yorkshire, was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.After the hearing, HSE Inspector Alan Sheldon said:“This young man could very easily have sustained even worse injuries. Falls from height are a well-recognised hazard in the construction industry and falls through fragile rooflights are an all-too-common occurrence, and becoming more so with the advent of solar panels.“This was an incident that could have been prevented had Dodds Roofing Services put recognised safety measures in place that were suitable and sufficient to protect their workers from the risks they faced. This could have included work equipment to prevent the fall and/or providing nets or a scaffold within the building in order to mitigate the effects of a fall.”

The latest HSE statistics show that 40 workers were killed and more than 3,400 were seriously injured in falls from height in 2011/12

Boldon firm fined after worker seriously hurt in fall

Sometimes a ladder really isn't enough, invest in a scaffold, or rent one!A heating, ventilation and air conditioning company has been fined for safety failings after an employee suffered serious injuries in a fall whilst repairing an extraction unit in Newcastle.Neil Pearson, 27, from Teesside, suffered fractures to his left hand and wrist, and strained his right arm after falling nearly three metres at a premises on the Newburn Industrial Estate on 1 November 2012.Boldon-based HLA Services Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that the workers had not been provided with the correct equipment for work at height.Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard today (22 October) that Mr Pearson was one of two men sent to the site to carry out the repairs. He climbed up a ladder to unfasten the clips which attached a rain cover to the top of the extraction unit.Mr Pearson stepped off the ladder and stood on the small lip at the front of the unit to reach the back clips. He remained standing on the lip while a colleague moved the ladder to the other side of the unit, but fell when the rain cover became unstable.After undergoing two operations, Mr Pearson wore a brace on his left arm for around four months and still struggles with movement and grip in his wrist and hand.Mr Pearson, who is left handed, can no longer work as a commercial catering servicing engineer and has had to retrain in a new occupation.The HSE investigation found the workers had not been provided with a risk assessment or method statement for the work, and that the company failed to ensure the work at height was properly planned.HLA Services Ltd, of Boldon Court, Burford Way, Boldon, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £710.50 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.After the hearing, HSE inspector Sal Brecken, said:“This was a wholly avoidable incident resulting in serious injury.“Work at height is inherently fraught with risk. It is therefore essential that it is properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure it is carried out safely, and that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent falls and protect workers.“If the company had properly planned the work activity and provided suitable equipment, such as a tower scaffold, then it could have been carried out safely. Instead Mr Pearson suffered painful injuries which have had a massive impact on both his work and personal life.”More information about safe working at height can be found at

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