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DIRECTOR PROSECUTED FOR DANGEROUS PAINTING OPS

Neglect over obvious risks lands painting and decorating director in dock

A director of painters and decoraters, Mawe Staff & Co Ltd, has been prosecuted after an employee fell some 4m during the painting of a water storage tank. The 58 year-old decorator will never be able to go back to his lifetime trade or any other construction-related work following the incident in Hull on 29 November 2011.

Two workmen were instructed by Colin Mawe to paint seven storage tanks at Humber Growers’ Beckside Nursery in East Yorkshire. Whilst painting the ‘crown’ of a tank one man fell as he walked along the curved top surface. There was no protection in place along the sides of the tanks to prevent a fall.

He fell onto the concrete floor slabs below and suffered multiple fractures to his left leg and broke his right heel. He was confined to a wheelchair for several weeks and now walks with crutches.

Beverly Masgistrates heard how Mr Mawe provided inadequate access equipment instructed the two men to use it. He saw both men working in a clearly unsafe manner yet failed to take any action.

Risks of walking on top of curved tank ‘evident to anyone’

Colin Mawe, of Welton, pleaded guilty to an offence by virtue of HSW Act Section 37(1) through his neglect as an individual director. He was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,800 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector David Bradley said:

“This was a serious incident in which a worker sustained life-changing injuries. However the height from which this worker fell had the very real potential to cause fatal injuries.

The controls needed to avert this incident were simple to achieve, and the risks to people walking along the top of a curved tank should have been evident to anyone controlling the work. It is therefore disappointing that Mr Mawe saw people working in this manner yet failed to introduce simple controls to eliminate these risks.

Falling from height remains the biggest cause of fatal and major injuries in the construction industry. This incident amply demonstrates the importance of planning properly and ensuring the right controls and precautions are in place for the duration of the work.”

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