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Written by
on 08 November 2012

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A contractor fell seven feet while working in Colchester in November 2011. The case was heard in court this week as the company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after they investigated the incident. The unnamed man was seriously injured in the fall, suffering from multiple fractures to his leg, back, wrist and skull.

Safety at Height Work

The contractor was working at Adhere Industrial Tapes Ltd at the time of the incident. His job was to replace a light fitting from a work platform that was unsuitable for the job. Rather than using a suitable mobile platform a metal cage was mounted on top of a wooden pallet. In order to reach the light fitting he was lifted by a reach truck but the platform moved sideways and came of the forks.  This caused the man to fall off the top and to the ground below.

Injuries Still Affecting Contractor One Year On

After the accident the contractor needed to spend ten days in hospital and went into surgery. Almost one year after the incident he is still using crutches to help him walk and attends aqua therapy and physiotherapy sessions in order to help his recovery.  This means he has been unable to return to work and it’s not clear whether he will be able to return to work anytime soon.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive discovered that the work at height had not been planned out properly before the work began.  Furthermore the there wasn’t any supervision and the work was not performed in a safe manner.  The platform that had been made did not have any suitable safeguards or a safety harness.  The cage also had not been secured to the forks of the truck and there was no guard on the back to prevent the lifting gear from getting tangled up with the cage. The HSE inspectors also found that none of the drivers working for the company had any training in lifting people.

Multiple Problems That Can Be Easy to Solve

One of the other major issues was the lack of risk assessments and lack of safety working methods.  There was also a lack of procedure for the management of the contractors that had been hired. Therefore they were taken to Colchester Magistrates Court and fined £12,000 for breaching Section 2 (1) if the Health and Safety at Work Act. The fine was also for breaching Regulation 4 (2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations. The company were ordered to pay £4,806 in court costs on top of the fine.

Health and Safety consultants provide an excellent audit service that can highlight problems with the day to day organisation of the health and safety within your organisation. It is possible to discover what is lacking when it comes to safety and reducing risks and can help to inform company owners of essential steps to take in order to prevent accidents and prosecution. Call 0800 1488 677 to discuss the audit and other suitable health and safety services available.

About 

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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