Wrong Choice of Access Leaves Painter with Life-Changing Injuries

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A painting and decorating contractor has been sentenced after an employee sustained life changing injuries after falling from height on a Northamptonshire property in August 2018.

The employer’s choice to use ladders instead of scaffolding has cost the contractor 160 hours of community service and left his employee permanently paralysed from the chest down.

Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 7th August 2018, the employee fell from height while installing a roof ladder on a pitched roof at a property in Mawsley. The homeowners had hired the contractor to paint the exterior windows and soffit boards of their property, including dormer windows in the roof. The employee was setting up ladders to the dormer windows when he fell.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the incident could have been prevented if the work at height hierarchy had been followed in the planning process and if appropriate equipment had been provided to employees, such as fully compliant scaffolding. The risk assessment should have identified that this work was not short duration and that the use of ladders was therefore not appropriate.

The contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 160 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £2,124.28 with a surcharge of £85.

HSE inspector Rachel Grant said after the hearing: “Employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. This includes using the right type of equipment for working at height. In this instance, the painting of the soffits and windows was not short duration work and should have been done from appropriate work platforms. Ladders were not the appropriate equipment.”

Don’t put your workers or your team at risk. Contact us today to make sure your height safety and access solutions are safe and compliant.