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LADDER FALL CAUSED LIFE-CHANGING INJURIES

Scaffold could have been used to remove risk of working from a ladder

A Leicestershire builder has been fined after a workman suffered multiple injuries when he fell 6m whilst repairing a second floor window in Market Harborough in September 2012.

The injured man was working from a ladder extended to just below the window. When climbing down the ladder he fell from the ladder to the patio below. He was airlifted to hospital with head injuries, five fractures to his spine and a fractured pelvis and wrist.

Leicester Magistrates were told that the incident happened when the worker was cutting out and replacing the sill and glazing on a small window in the second floor attic gable wall. HSE investigators found a suitable tower scaffold was on site that could have been used to remove the risk of working from a ladder.

Accountability accompanies control of work

Peter William Steans, 61, of Lubbesthorpe Road, Leicester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £353.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Tony Mitchell said:

“The injured man had to use a walking frame and was unable to climb stairs for five months. He will never be able to return to his normal job, yet the incident and the life-changing injuries it caused could have been prevented.

There was suitable equipment on site and Mr Steans, as the contractor in control of the work, had a duty to make sure it was put in place for use. Builders should not think that just because they use casual workers, they are not responsible for their safety.

If you are in control of the work then you will be held accountable should things go wrong.”

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