Date: 18 September 2012
The 43-year-old man from West Derby, who has asked not to be named, suffered a brain haemorrhage, fractured skull and collapsed lung in the incident at Croxteth Sports and Wellbeing Centre on 18 January 2011. His injuries also included a broken collar bone, ribs, wrist and fingers.
The worker was in intensive care for two weeks and his brain injury has had a long-term impact on his personality. He has also been unable to return to work as a result of his injuries.
His employer, CME Ceilings Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the scaffolding tower the company provided for the job was unsafe.
A company which makes modular timber buildings has been fined after an employee suffered multiple injuries falling from a canopy at a Shropshire school.RG Stones (Buildings) Ltd had been contracted to replace the canopy between two temporary buildings at Lakelands School on Oswestry Road in Ellesmere when the incident happened on 8 August 2011. William Phillips, 52, of Weston Rhyn, was standing on the canopy with two colleagues when he fell three metres between the timber joists onto the concrete floor below. He fractured his back, breastbone, six ribs and right wrist and has not yet been able to return to work.
Shrewsbury Magistrates’ Court heard today (10 August) that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had not installed any edge protection to prevent a fall. It had put two soft landing bags on the floor to mitigate the effect of any fall, but neither were in the area where the work was being carried out.
Three companies were ordered to pay a total of £232,000 in fines and costs after two workers on an Exeter building site suffered severe injuries when the platform they were working on collapsed and fell four storeys down a lift shaft. Exeter Crown Court heard today that the men were working on a site building new student accommodation for Exeter University at the former Elmfield Nursery in New North Road when the incident happened in February 2008.
Cowlin Construction Ltd was fined £85,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs by the court in the case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Prestoplan Ltd, which provides timber frame buildings, was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 towards costs and Somerset Carpenters Ltd, which supplied labour at the site, was fined £35,000 with £22,000 costs. Somerset Carpenters were served with a prohibition notice by the HSE following an inspection at the site which banned them from working until safety measures had been put in place to stop workers falling down the lift shaft.
A Northumberland firm and two of its directors have been sentenced for safety failings after a teenage worker died following a fall from a barn roof. Jamie Lee Duddin, 18, of Corbridge, and another Scotts of Whittington Ltd employee were carrying out repairs to the roof lights of the barn at Heddon Low Farm, Heddon on the Wall, Northumberland, when the incident occurred on 23 July 2010.
Newcastle Crown Court heard during a two and a half week trial (from 23 April – 9 May) that the teenager was rushed to hospital but died two days later. Jamie was standing on a roof panel made of fibre cement board when it collapsed. He fell through the roof landing on a concrete floor six metres (20 feet) below.
A joint investigation by Northumbria Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the work had not been properly planned. It also identified that inadequate equipment had been provided and that the workers were not properly trained or supervised. Read this post
Three Wirral employees could have been killed if they had fallen while carrying out work to a warehouse roof in Birkenhead, a court has heard.
The men were seen repairing the leaking roof, up to 16 metres above the ground, without harnesses or any suitable safety measures to stop them falling or to prevent them from being injured if they fell.
Their employer, Davidson Williams (Merseyside) Ltd, was prosecuted after a concerned member of the public sent photos of the unsafe work to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
A building firm has been prosecuted for safety failings after a decorator was seriously injured when he fell through a substandard guard rail at a housing development in Reading.
Phillip Williams, 63, from Reading, fractured his hip, broke five ribs, chipped a bone in his spine and was left with internal bleeding and clotting around his lungs as a result of the fall during the construction of a house at Wintringham Way on 30 August last year.
Reading Magistrates’ Court heard (8 June) that he had been sub-contracted to work at the property by the main contractor W Pocock and Sons Limited, a local family-run business.
Mr Williams was walking towards a first floor light-well to talk to workers on the ground floor. As he leant in against a wooden guard rail it gave way and he fell approximately 2.6 metres to the ground floor below.
According to NHS figures about 20,000 people each year are admitted to accident and emergency wards in England after falling out of bed, compared with 6,400 who drop from ladders, the NHS Information Centre revealed.
Falls from trees account for 1,200 cases, while 170 are admitted after falling from cliffs.
In total, falls accounted for almost 460,000 hospital admissions from March last year to February this year, up by 18,700 on the previous 12 months.
People in the southeast were most accident prone, while women aged over 80 made up the biggest group. A&E admissions in general rose from 15.5million to 16.2million in the period.
NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: ‘Our figures show a rise in the number of hospital admissions for falls – from those who fall out of bed to people taking a tumble out of a tree.
‘While falls are common and often minor, the report highlights the number of hospital admissions due to injuries from falls, particularly among women over 80, who represent nearly a third of all such admissions.’
Renault dealer JDS Trucks has been fined £9,900 after one of its employees was seriously injured when he fell from the roof of a cab.
The company, which provides parts and servicing for operators, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its garage on Forrest Street, Blackburn in December 2009.
Accrington Magistrates’ Court was told how the 47-year-old from Darwen had climbed onto the roof to assess whether a wind deflector needed to be fitted.
However, he fell three metres after trying to step onto a ladder from the top of the cab, and fractured his hip and left elbow.
The court also heard that the ladder had not been secured and no one else was there to help him. It was four months before the man – who does not wish to be named – was able to return to work.
JDS Trucks pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and one breach of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was also ordered to pay £4,613 costs.
In a statement, JDS Trucks says an independent health and safety audit carried out in May 2009 had highlighted the issue of fitters using ladders, and the firm immediately advised all staff that using ladders to fit wind deflectors must cease.
“This included the fitter involved in this incident – who was a very experienced and senior member of staff. We immediately purchased alternative equipment, which included a mobile access platform,” a spokesman for the company adds.
“All staff were advised to use this platform and indeed the fitter involved did use the platform a number of times. However, on this occasion, he decided not to use the platform and instead decided to revert to the old practice of using a ladder.
“This was unknown to our management team. The fitter then slipped while using this ladder and the injuries were sustained.”
JDS says two of the three offences prosecuted by the HSE did not relate directly to the ladder slipping.
The spokesman continues: “While the third offence did relate to the ladder slipping, the court accepted that the fitter, having been expressly told not to use this equipment, should not have been using the ladder in any event and should instead have used the platform that had been provided”.
Since the incident, JDS has upgraded its gantry for safe working at height, and implemented a safe system of work for fitting wind deflectors.
Shellie Bee, HSE inspector, says: “Ladders do have a use in the workplace and in some situations are appropriate – with the correct training and if they’re properly secured.”
This is the first change to EN 131-2 since 1993 and specifies the general design features, requirements, and test methods for portable ladders and steps. It does not apply to step stools or certain specialist ladders such as fire brigade ladders and roof ladders for example.
The primary changes to the standard include an increase in the strength test loads applied to the stiles of ladders. The platform-loading test on a stepladder has also been modified in order to improve stability. A kick-up test of the platform has been added, along with a ‘feet pull’ test, a test on the hand and knee rails as well as a new torsion test.
Fibreglass ladders now have a comprehensive set of tests to determine the heat resistance, UV stability, and electrical properties.
The standard is intended to be use in conjunction with EN 131-1 (Sizes), EN 131-3 (Safety Instructions) and EN 131-4 (Multiple hinge ladders).The draft of EN131-3:2011 that relates specifically to user information and safety instructions is currently being reviewed and is expected to be ratified by the end of the year.
A man was in a coma for two months after suffering a serious ladder accident at work.
Carl Major was injured while working for MacDonald Joinery & Construction Ltd in September 2008. While performing renovations at a then Rosebys store at a large retail park, he went to work up a set of stepladders. While stripping out fixtures and fittings he was struck on the head by a falling light pelmet.
The impact knocked him off the ladder causing him to plummet three metres to a concrete floor. He suffered severe injuries in the fall that put him in a coma for two months. His head injuries meant that he later developed epilepsy, lost his sense of smell, and has since been unable to work. Many workers who are subjected to such a serious accident are eligible to make a head injury claim.
The Health and Safety Executive decided to prosecute the firm in regards to the accident. This was because although they had done a risk assessment on working at height, they had failed to look at how the lighting pelmets were constructed and the dangers they could pose to workers.
They pleaded guilty to breaking the Health and Safety Act at Teesside Magistrates' Court and were fined £15,000 this week.
Ladders remain a quick method of safe access providing the equipment is suitably maintained, the job properly risk assessed and adequate training provided. These simple measures cannot only save employers thousands in compensation claims but save lives.