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FALLING FIXTURE TRIGGERS LADDER FALL AND COMA

Workman permanently damaged during strip-out on refurb project 

MacDonald Joinery & Construction Ltd, of Sheffield has been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious injuries whilst working on the refurbishment of a Teesside store in September 2008. Carl Major, 31, of Nottinghamshire was stripping out fixtures and fittings when he was hit on the head by a falling lighting pelmet.

Mr Major was knocked from the step ladder he was using and fell some 3m to a concrete floor causing serious head injuries.  He was in a coma for two months and later developed epilepsy and still requires medical treatment. He has been unable to return to work.

The necessary information and instruction was not provided and a safe system of work for the work at height in the store was not in place.

Incident had ‘real impact on my family’

MacDonald Joinery & Construction Ltd, of Westthorpe Fields Business Park, Sheffield, pleaded guilty of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6228.75 at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

HSE Principal Inspector Rob Hirst, said:

“Mr Major has suffered long term injuries as a result of this serious incident, yet it could have easily been prevented if suitable and sufficient safety measures had been provided.

Reducing the number of deaths and injuries from falls from height is a key priority of the work of the HSE. This incident illustrates how important it is for construction companies to effectively manage health and safety at all levels within the business.”

Mr Major, who is married with two children, added:

“this has really changed my life. I now have epilepsy so I can’t drive anymore and I’ve been told I may never be able to go back to work in my trade as a plasterer. I’ve also lost my sense of smell so can’t enjoy cooking as I did. The whole thing has had a real impact on my family – the stress and the financial worries have made things worse.”

HSE Inspectors will be visiting sites in the region as part of a month long inspection initiative focussing on refurbishment, repair and maintenance activities.

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