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    Temporary guard-rail was insufficiently ‘robust’ to stop fall

    Bellway Homes Limited has been fined after a 23 year-old plasterer was seriously injured when she fell after a temporary handrail failed on a homebuild site in Shiremoor on 4 December 2012.

    The agency worker fractured her wrist, forehead, jaw, cheekbone, hip and severed tendons in her left hand. She also suffered extensive bruising to her face, neck and back and required a metal plate inserted into her right arm.

    She was unable to return to work as a labourer for six months and still suffers constant pain. It is unlikely she will ever return to her usual trade.

    North Tyneside Magistrates heard how she was clearing rubbish on the first floor of a property when she leant on the handrail which gave way, causing her to fall around 2.6m to the floor below.

    The rail comprised a piece of timber fixed to the protective cover of an upright post at one side and secured with one nail into a timber door frame at the other side. There was no mid-rail to provide additional support.

    The court heard the company failed to provide suitable and sufficient measures to prevent the fall. A more ‘robust’ handrail could have avoided the incident.

    Young worker left with serious injury and ongoing pain

    Bellway Homes Limited, of Newcastle, was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was also ordered to pay £904.70 costs.

    Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Emma Scott said:

    “This incident could easily have been prevented if Bellway Homes Limited had ensured that temporary guard rails were erected and installed correctly.

    Instead a young worker has been left with serious injuries which are still causing her pain and may well prevent her from continuing work in her chosen trade.

    The significant dangers of death and serious injury associated with falls from height during construction work are well-known and long-standing in the industry, and working on a landing area without suitable safety measures in place is simply not acceptable.”


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