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DIRECTOR AND COMPANY IN DOCK OVER SCAFFOLDING DANGERS

Mobile work platform could have reduced risk to scaffolding labourer 

London and South Scaffolding Ltd of Essex and a director have been prosecuted for failing to provide a safe way of working on a fragile roof after a scaffolding labourer fell through a rooflight and suffered serious injuries.

James Froud aged 22 was hospitalised for ten days and off work for several months using a back brace and crutches as a result of the incident at Siemans Windpower Compound at Ramsgate Port on 12 October 2011.

Canterbury Magistrates heard (23 October) that Mr Froud was fitting hand rails on a fragile rooftop when he fell 7m through the rooflight.

HSE investigators found that the company and director Gary Peck were aware of how fragile the roof and skylights were, but failed to take adequate measures to prevent a fall.

The use of a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) to avoid standing on the roof, or using staging fitted with guard rails would prevented the offence and injury

 Work at height must be properly planned, supervised and carried out safely

London and South Scaffolding Ltd and Gary Peck both pleaded guilty to four separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 for not doing more. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs. Gary Peck was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Caroline Penwill said:

“Falls from height are the most common cause of workplace fatality and also account for a large number of serious injuries, as was the case here.

The company and director were aware that the roof and skylights were fragile, but did not take any steps to avoid access to the roof or provide a safe method of work. Had they done so, James’ fall could have been prevented

Today’s prosecution underlines that all work at height must be properly planned, supervised and carried out safely, especially when it involves working on or near a fragile roof.

Companies and directors need to carefully consider the risks of working at height and identify and implement adequate controls to protect their employees.”

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