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ROOFLINE WORKER INJURED IN SCAFFOLD FALL

Firm failed to act on risk adviser warnings over safe working at height

Premier Security Glazing Ltd of South Yorkshire has been prosecuted after a workman was injured when he fell some 3m from an unsafe scaffold. The incident occurred when Phillip Pears, aged 20, was replacing fascias at a house in York in June 2009.

HSE investigators found that two tower scaffolds erected ten feet apart were spanned by boards to produce a single extended working platform. There were no handrails or toe-boards fitted on the scaffold or the working platform.

Mr Pears used a ladder leaning against the scaffold and stepped onto an unsecured board which became dislodged causing him to fall to the pavement below. He fractured his wrist and bruised his back.

York Magistrates Court heard that Mr Pears used tower scaffolds regularly but had not been trained in their safe use.

Proper training in use of work equipment required

A risk adviser had been engaged some months before the incident. The adviser undertook a health and safety audit on systems of work, including safe working at height and the correct use of tower scaffolds. However, the company failed to implement the recommendations.

Premier Security Glazing Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching HSW Act 1974 Section 2(1) for failing to ensure the safety of their employees and was fined £2,500 with £2,644.90 prosecution costs.

HSE Inspector Sarah Lee said:

“The dangers of working from poorly-erected tower scaffolds are well known and are responsible for many injuries each year. Had the company followed widely-available guidance from HSE, the manufacturer’s instructions, or the findings of the company’s own safety audit then this incident could have been easily prevented.

Companies must realise that it is not acceptable to expect their employees to use work equipment without the proper training. Mr. Pears has made a full recovery but so often these types of incidents have fatal consequences. ”

Comment

Roofline work is undertaken by a small number of large companies and a large number of small contractors. In both cases the work is frequently carried out from inadequate working platforms. This is often due to poor planning, training and monitoring.

A range of innovative and practicable access equipment is now available and designed specifically for work of this nature. For example see Easi -Dec and Turner Access.

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