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HOUSING GROUP DID NOT TRAIN ON LADDER USE

Fall of plumber exposes HA deficiencies in working with ladders  

Housing association, Whitefriars Housing Group Limited, has been prosecuted after a plumber fell 4m from a ladder whilst inspecting a gutter at one of the group properties in Coventry on 6 June 2011l. He fractured his pelvis and was in hospital for four months.

Coventry Magistrates heard (22 March) that:

  • Stability – the base of the ladder had not been properly secured with proper equipment;
  • Instruction – not provided on how to secure ladders effectively;
  • Equipment – standoff devices were not provided to avoid resting the ladder against the guttering;
  • Monitoring – suitable routine monitoring to check employees were working safely were not undertaken.

The court was told that Whitefriars Housing Group undertakes a large amount of work at height, and that the company management of this work well below the expected standard. Work at height was not properly planned, organised or carried out safely.

Housing group should have known better

Whitefriars Housing Group Limited, of Little Park Street, Coventry, was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £5,980 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Ed Fryer said:

“A housing group doing such regular work at height should have known better, but as it was the work was not properly planned, organised or carried out in a safe manner, which resulted in this entirely preventable incident and a serious injury for the worker.

Falls from height are the biggest cause of death and injury in the workplace and it is vital to plan effectively. As this incident shows, you cannot leave it to chance when the consequences are so severe.“

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