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16th March 2022

Construction Company Prosecuted After Employee Falls From Height

Scaffolding

What’s Happened?

A Yorkshire based Roofing and Construction company has recently been prosecuted for breaches of health and safety regulations after an employee sustained multiple injuries
when he fell through a gap in scaffolding whilst working on a building in Scarborough. The 20-year-old labourer was working on the roof of the property when he fell three metres through a gap in the scaffolding onto an office roof below. The fall caused significant injuries to both left wrist and hand.

HSE Investigation

As the injuries the employee sustained fall under the reporting requirements of The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) then
the HSE inevitably were informed about the incident and conducted their own
investigation…

The HSE found that when the labourer was moving insulation panels on the roof, he stumbled and fell through the gap. Although his employer had taken measures to reduce the risk of a fall but the provision of fixed scaffolding – the scaffolding, in this case, did not fully extend along the roof in the area where the insulation panels were stacked and stored.

The subsequent fall caused the labourer to sustain a dislocation to his left wrist and a broken bone in his hand which has required him to undergo several operations. Infiniti Roofing and Construction Ltd of Cayton Low Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company has been fined £22,667 and ordered to pay £7,228 in costs. After the hearing, the HSE inspector involved in the the case said: “The accident could have been prevented if edge protection, constructed and installed to industry standards, was in place where there was a risk of a fall from height.”

Falls From Height

Statistics released by the HSE show that almost half of all construction accidents were from falls from height – and its important to remember that there is no distinction made between low and high falls so for all work at height, measures must be taken to prevent the risk of any fall that could cause injury.

Scaffolding is widely used and can provide an effective and safe means of access, however poorly erected and misused scaffolds are the cause of numerous accidents each year as this recent prosecution demonstrates. Remember, scaffolding should only be erected by trained and competent people who are following a safe method of work.

Work at Height Key Requirements:

  • Identify jobs that involve work at height and plan the work to ensure that appropriate precautions are in place;
  • Have a risk assessment in place that applies for the Work at Height Regulations – Hierarchy;
  • Have procedures for the selection of correct equipment and ensure that the selected equipment is actually used
  • Communicate the risk assessment and necessary control measures to the workforce;
  • Ensure workers are competent to use the equipment that has been correctly installed/assembled;
  • Arrange inspection and maintenance of equipment as appropriate.

If you have any queries regarding work at height, or any other health and safety concerns – then you can contact our consultants via the advice line on 0300 303 5228 or email us at
info@lighthouseriskservices.co.uk

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