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    FALL DURING TIMBER FRAME ERECTION

    Erector seriously injured after 5m fall into unprotected stairwell

    Maple Timber Frames (ECH Ltd T/A) has been ordered to pay £21k in fines and prosecutions costs after a worker fell 5m at a construction site in Kent on 18 November 2008.

    The timber frame erector was working at height on a project in Tunbridge Wells when he fell to the bottom of an inadequately covered stairwell. He suffered multiple fractures, including his skull. A colleague working with the injured man was unharmed in the incident.

    HSE Inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said: “I would echo the magistrates’ statement that these were reckless breaches of the law. The injured man is extremely lucky – despite the severity of his injuries.This sort of fall could easily have killed him. It is all the sadder because it should have been prevented if ECH Ltd had heeded simple safety advice.”

    Comment: How could those involved here fail to deal effectively with such a seemingly obvious hazards? Openings in floors are a common hazard posing a significant risk on timber frame projects. Project teams need to ensure that the hazard takes centre stage from planning through to completion. Prioritsing of risks and a focus on the most significant is required.

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