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LADDER FALL DEATH AND PROSECUTION

House building company fined after ladder fall fatality

DC Kennedy Homes Ltd has been ordered to pay £15k in fines and prosecution costs following the death of construction worker Ian Smith, 64, who fell from an unstable ladder.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Mr Smith was working on a project to build six new semi-detached houses on 19 December 2007 when he fell 5m to the ground.

Investigation found that work was carried out on the first and second floors of the house, before the stairs had been fitted.

The ladder used to access the second floor was not secured and rubber feet were missing from the ladder.

Polly Tomlinson HSE Principal Inspector said: “This was a tragic incident that could easily have been prevented if DC Kennedy Homes had put more thought into the safety of its employees.

The ladder Ian Smith used was dangerous as the rubber feet were missing and it wasn’t tied to the wall to stop it slipping.

“But more importantly, Mr Smith should never have been expected to use a ladder in the first place.

If the work had been planned properly, the stairs would have been fitted before work was carried out on the first and second floors of the house.

Instead Mr Smith had to use a ladder to access the second floor, putting his life at risk. Other employees were also put in danger by the unprotected open edges.

“I hope this case will act as a warning to other house building companies to improve their safety standards, to prevent more people dying at work in the future.”

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