Loft conversion company Allied Welsh Ltd, pleaded guilty at Bridgend Magistrates’ Court on 12th May to a charge under section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,600 by the Court.
A five-metre fall left carpenter David Morgan with injuries so serious, it may well have ended his career. Following the prosecution of his employers for the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning companies to ensure they have safe systems in place for working at height.
Mr Morgan fell from an extension ladder in November 2006 whilst carrying a 8ft x 4ft piece of chipboard weighing approximately 25kg. He suffered a severely broken ankle, broken wrist, and facial injuries where the wood hit him after he fell.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Steve Richardson said:
“The company did not have a safe and suitable method of getting materials from ground level up to the loft space where they were working.”
“Slips, trips and falls can be viewed as being minor, funny accidents but the effects are not. It can lead to major injuries, a lifetime of disability and in worst cases, fatalities.”
“Our investigation showed that the company had previous advice from HSE, but did not heed it on this occasion. There was a systematic failure to provide safe working practices in this particular area.
“Mr Morgan has been severely affected by this incident. A year and a half on he is still unable to work and is never likely to again. His case must serve as a warning to others to make safety a priority while working at height, and using ladders to avoid slips, trips and falls.”
HSE is running its ‘Shattered Lives’ campaign, to highlight the devastating consequences of slips, trips and falls in the workplace. In Wales last year, one person died as a result of a fall from height, while there were a total of 2,599 injuries from slips, trips and falls, costing Welsh society alone more than £41.5million.