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STAIRWELL GUARDRAIL FAILED UNDER LOAD

House builder fined after decorator seriously injured in fall

Hill Partnerships Ltd has been fined after a decorator was severely injured in a stairwell fall on a project in Cambridgeshire.

David Scanlon suffered multiple fractures and other injuries as a result of the incident at Barrington on 17 January 2012. He was hospitalised for five days and has yet to return to work.

HSE investigators found that temporary guard-rails at the site did not meet statutory requirements.

Cambridge Magistrates heard that Mr Scanlon was employed to undertake external and internal decorating at the residential building site. He was working on the first floor of a block of flats when he fell.

He stopped on a landing area to talk to colleagues and he “leant against” a wooden stairwell guard-rail which collapsed, sending him crashing headfirst onto the stairs below.

HSE established that the guard-rail was poorly designed and constructed, and simply not fit for purpose.

Established design standards should have been adopted

Hill Partnerships Ltd, of Powdermill Lane, Waltham Abbey, Essex, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £4,501 costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Gavin Bull, said:

“Hill Partnerships failed to ensure the guard-rails they provided to prevent falls inside the buildings were suitable when work was being undertaken. There are well established design standards for temporary guard-rails that could have been adopted and put in place.

“Construction work is a high-risk activity and falls account for a large proportion of all deaths and serious injuries. The end result here is that Mr Scanlon sustained serious injuries that could have been avoided.”

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