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WORKMAN FELL DURING WELDING WORK AT HEIGHT

Ladder access to water tank top was insecure and slipped when used

Icon Process Systems Ltd, a water treatment system manufacturer, has been sentenced after a worker sustained head and arm injuries when he fell 3.5m from a water treatment tank in November 2015.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that the injured person was undertaking welding work on top of a large water treatment vessel which he accessed by ladder. The ladder was not tied and as he turned to climb down from the vessel the ladder slipped him to fall from the top of the vessel.

He was knocked unconscious and sustained bruising to the brain, as well as breaking his left wrist in several places.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Icon Process Systems Ltd should have properly prepared for the work.  Proper planning would have identified the dangers of falls, and allowed the company to provide suitable work equipment, including platforms with guard rails and suitable access.

The company should have identified the need to train and instruct their staff in the safe way to work.

  • Icon Process Systems Ltd – of Station Lane Old Whittington Chesterfield pleaded guilty of being in breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005, which requires employers to ensure that all work at height is properly planned, appropriately supervised, and carried out in a safe manner.

The company was also in breach of Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which require employers to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks from their work activities. The company was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,000.

Risks when working at height are well known

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Emma Madeley said

“The contractor’s injuries were significant and he could have easily been killed. Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working, provide proper equipment and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, these serious injuries could have been avoided.”

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