Lack of Edge Protection Leads to Fall and Fine

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A building company has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries from a fall that could have been prevented with sufficient planning, protection and training.

The worker was carrying out work at a residential property in March 2016. He began taping areas on the ceiling of a mezzanine level. He gained access to this level by a wooden platform which had a ladder propped against it. As he was working close to the edge of the mezzanine level, he lost his footing and stumbled a drop of 18.5cm onto the wooden platform. He was unable to regain his footing and fell a further 2.5 metres, head-first onto the floor below. He sustained head, back and neck injuries.

The HSE’s investigation found that there was no edge protection on the wooden platform and no safe system of work had been put in place. In addition, the worker received no formal training for work at height or working on ladders, he had a lack of knowledge and awareness of the hazards associated with work at height. The company in question had failed to supervise appropriately and had not corrected deficiencies, despite visiting shortly before the accident. There was no written risk assessments for this task.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £6,000.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector, Connor Gibson said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“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. In this case a different and simple approach of using edge protection on the wooden platform could have prevented the life changing injuries sustained by the employee.”

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