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    ASSESSMENT SHOWED RISK – PRECAUTIONS NOT TAKEN

    Workman seriously injured when falling into open unguarded stairwell

    A construction company has been sentenced for safety breaches after workman fell from a height of just below 3m into an open stairwell in May 2017.

    Leeds Magistrates heard how he was working on the upper floor of a cricket club in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire which was undergoing refurbishment.

    He was removing a ‘genie lift’ from the forks of a lift truck which would be used to lift steel beams into position when he stepped backwards and fell through the stairwell opening sustaining multiple injuries.

    The injuries included a fractured spine, a fractured skull and partial collapse of one lung. He attends physiotherapy as outpatient and has not yet been able to return to work.

    No measures to prevent or mitigate the consequences of fall

    HSE investigators found that the company risk assessment identified there would be gaps in the floor through which a person could fall. However, the defendant failed to put in place any measures to either prevent or mitigate the consequences of a fall.

    Such measures could include the use of fixed edge protection systems to prevent falls or the use of fall arrest bags to mitigate falls.

    • Rivergate Developments Ltd – of Rivergate House, Carrhill Road, Mossley, Lancashire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £1,020 in costs.

    After the hearing, HSE inspector Jayne Towey commented:

    “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard.

    This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had installed adequate edge protection around the opening to prevent falls.”

     

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