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INADEQUATE ACCESS AND UNPROTECTED JOISTS END IN INJURY

Bricklayer fractures back in fall through open joists on refurb project

Frank Rogers (Building Contractors) Ltd has been prosecuted after a bricklayer broke his back when he fell between floor joists at a Lancashire building site in in May 2011. The 40-year-old bricklayer was working on a project refurbishing a corner shop and constructing four one-bedroom houses.

Warrington Magistrates’ Court heard that there was no internal staircase in the building and access to the first floor was by ladder or through a window opening from external scaffolding. The workman tripped as he stepped from the window onto a trestle and fell to the ground floor through the gap between first floor joists.

Simply covering the joists would have prevented injury

Frank Rogers (Building Contractors) Ltd of Liverpool pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to make sure that sufficient measures were in place to prevent workers being injured in a fall. The company was fined £13,500 and ordered to pay £7,509 in prosecution costs on 13 June 2012.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Dr Tom Baldwin said:

“Luckily the bricklayer has made a good recovery, but a fall of that distance could have resulted in him suffering permanent injuries or even being killed.

Frank Rogers (Building Contractors) Ltd didn’t consider the risks of workers being injured in a fall ahead of the work starting and, as a result, no measures were put in place to prevent falls.

If the company had taken simple safety measures, such as covering the joists with wooden boards, then lives would not have been put at risk.”

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