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HEFTY CLIENT FINE IMPOSED FOLLOWING FITTER FALL

Pipe fitter fell through suspended ceiling due to client and contractor failings   

Anson Packaging Ltd and Cambs Compressor Engineering Ltd have been ordered to pay over £115,000 in fines and prosecution costs after a 24- year-old pipe fitter fractured his back in a fall from a roof void. Anthony Strong, fell whilst installing pipe work for a moulding machine at the factory premises of Anson Packaging in Sutton, Cambs on 29 October 2008.

Work was taking place in the roof void above a fragile suspended ceiling at a distance of 6.5 metres above the factory floor. Mr Strong and a co-worker used a crawling board to travel from a protected walkway to the place where the pipe work was to be installed. The men wore harnesses but there was a lack of suitable attachment points and they had to detach to move across the void to the work position.

Mr Strong was using the crawl board between beams in the roof void when he fell to the floor, suffering fractures to his spine, skull and ribs.

Defendants failed to provide suitable equipment and training

HSE investigators found that, despite measures to assess risk and provide work at height equipment, both client and contractor failed to ensure the workmen were competent to undertake work at height and provided with appropriate equipment and a safe system of work.

Anson Packaging admitted breaching HSW Act Section 3(1) and Cambs Compressor Engineering admitted breaching HSW Section 2(1) and Regulation 5 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Anson Packaging was fined £50,015.00 with £29,291.09 costs, while Cambs Compressor Engineering was fined £18,015 with £8,452.63 costs.

HSE Inspector Gavin Bull said:

“Falls from height are one of the most common, yet preventable, causes of injury at work. In 2008/2009, more than 4,000 major injuries were caused by falls from height at work.

In this case a man suffered serious personal injuries because work at height was not properly planned. Both companies had a duty to ensure that work at height undertaken by their own employees, or on their behalf by staff employed by subcontractors, was properly managed with safe systems of work agreed and implemented.

Although some work equipment was provided to the 2 workers to enable them to undertake the work at height it was not suitable for the particular roof space and the workers were not trained in its correct use.”

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