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INADEQUATE INSPECTION AFTER MODIFICATION LED TO FALL

Guard rail failed following removal and replacement after passage of materials

W Pocock and Sons has been prosecuted after a decorator was seriously injured when he fell through a “substandard guard rail” at a housing development in Reading in August 2011. Phillip Williams fractured his hip, broke five ribs, chipped a bone in his spine and was left with internal bleeding and clotting around his lungs as a result of the fall.

Reading Magistrates’ Court heard (8 June) that he leant against a wooden guard rail to speak to co-workers below when the rail gave way and he fell some 2.6 metres to the ground floor below.

HSE investigators found the guard rail in the light well had been removed and replaced prior to the incident in order to pass materials from the ground floor to the first. This appears to have caused the fixings to deteriorate making the guard rail inadequate to prevent a person from falling.

Thorough inspection after re-installation would have identified weakness

W Pocock and Sons, of New Lane Hill, Tilehurst, pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 in relation to the incident. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,706 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector James Powell, said:

“Mr Williams sustained serious injuries as a result of his fall, which could easily have been avoided had the guard rail been adequately secured to ensure that it could not be displaced.

It simply wasn’t up to the job, possibly as a result of the rail being removed and replaced on more than one occasion, and the subsequent deterioration this caused to the quality of the fitting.

A thorough inspection of the guard rail after re-installation would have identified any weakness and could have saved Mr Williams a great deal of trauma. It underlines the need to routinely inspect fall protection equipment used for work at height.”

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One Response to “INADEQUATE INSPECTION AFTER MODIFICATION LED TO FALL”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 22 AUGUST 2012 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] INADEQUATE INSPECTION AFTER MODIFICATION LED TO FALL […]