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SCAFFOLDER GIVEN JAIL TERM OVER GIN WHEEL FAILURE

Lifting accessory fell seven metres and fractured skull of workman  

A West Midlands scaffolder has received a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay compensation of £2,500, after a construction worker suffered a fractured skull when a gin wheel fell 7m.

Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that 27-year-old Mark Jones was installing lead flashing on a school roof using lifting equipment installed by Christopher Alan Harvey (Cannock Wood Scaffolding T/A) when the incident occurred on 8 August 2013.

Mr Jones was operating a ‘gin wheel which had been attached to the scaffold by Christopher Harvey. It was during the loading materials at ground level for lifting to the roof when the 7kg wheel fell.

HSE investigators found that Mr Harvey failed to properly secure the gin wheel to the scaffold. No scaffold fittings were used to prevent the gin wheel from falling off the end of the scaffold tube, and the supporting structure was inadequately braced.

Fell far short of the expected standard

Christopher Alan Harvey, 40, of Wolverhampton Road, Cannock, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 10(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and received a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay Mark Jones compensation of £2,500, plus £527.56 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Edward Fryer said:

“This incident was entirely preventable and could easily have been avoided had Mr Harvey followed the published guidance to attach the wheel securely. Gin wheels are a common accessory for scaffolders and must be attached correctly.

The installation of this gin wheel fell far short of the expected standard and made it almost inevitable that it would fall from the scaffold endangering anyone walking beneath.

Mr Jones suffered a fracture to his skull, but it is nothing more than luck that he was not more seriously injured, or even killed.

If you are installing scaffolding or associated lifting equipment, it must be left in a safe condition. The quality of work could make the difference between life or death.”

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