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HEATING AND VENTILATING CONTRACTOR PROSECUTED

Work on extraction unit was not properly planned and managed

HLA Services Ltd has been fined after an employee suffered serious injuries in a fall whilst repairing an extraction unit in Newcastle in 2012. Neil Pearson, aged 27, suffered fractures to his left hand and wrist, and strained his right arm after falling nearly 3m.

Newcastle Magistrates heard (22 October) that Mr Pearson was one of two men sent to the site to carry out the repairs. A ladder was used to access and unfasten clips which attached a rain cover to the top of the extraction unit. He stepped off the ladder and stood on a small lip at the front of the unit to reach clips at the rear. His colleague moved the ladder to the other side of the unit and he fell when the rain cover became unstable.

HSE investigators found a risk assessment had not been carried out and there was no method statement prepared for the work. The company failed to ensure the work at height was properly planned.

Work could have been carried safely from a tower scaffold

HLA Services Ltd, of Boldon Court, Burford Way, Boldon, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £710.50 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Sal Brecken, said:

“This was a wholly avoidable incident resulting in serious injury. Work at height is inherently fraught with risk. It is therefore essential that it is properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure it is carried out safely, and that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent falls and protect workers.

If the company had properly planned the work activity and provided suitable equipment, such as a tower scaffold, then it could have been carried out safely. Instead Mr Pearson suffered painful injuries which have had a massive impact on both his work and personal life.”

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