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INQUEST: PAINTER DIED THREE YEARS AFTER FALL

Mystery surrounds presence of ‘unsuitable flimsy domestic ladder’ on site

It has been reported that the Bradford Coroner has heard that a painter and decorator who fell from a ladder died three years later as a result of his injuries.

Trevor Dawson, aged 62, was left with significant brain damage and needed round-the-clock care after he fell from a ‘flimsy’ domestic ladder in August 2007.

He suffered epileptic fits as a result of his injuries and it was during one of those fits that he died in a nursing home on June 23 2010. Consultant pathologist Dr Philip Batman said Mr Dawson died of an “epileptic fit due to brain damage caused by head injuries from the fall”.

The court heard that ladder was ‘unsuitable for industrial use’. It was unclear who ‘owned’ the ladder and how it ended up at the student accommodation in Huddersfield where Mr Dawson was working on a renovation project..

Work involved painting dormer 3m above stairwell

Mr Dawson was engaged by Liversedge Decorating Contractors Limited to paint a dormer window three metres above a stairwell.Tiler Keith Cunningham told the court:

“I heard this scream. Trevor was kind of hugging a section of ladder, falling backwards behind me. His feet hit the stairs and he fell backwards. His head landed onto the floor.”

Site foreman Raymond Coates, of Fosters Turnkey Contracts Limited, said he rang for an ambulance straight away. He helped clear a path for the ambulance, while two joiners removed a window for the stretchers to be lifted through.

The court heard the ladder used by Mr Dawson did not meet the standard for industrial use. Painter Philip Kennedy said the ladders belonged to Liversedge Decorating director Paul Daniel. However, Mr Daniel told the court: “I have no idea who owned that ladder. I swear to God I had never seen that ladder before.”

HSE Inspector David Stewart said it had not been able to find out who owned the ladders. Liversedge Decorating and directors Mr Daniel and Clive Dewhirst, and Fosters Turnkey had all been prosecuted for health and safety breaches.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

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