24 Sep 2012

Dodgy scaffold tower leads to life-threatening fall from height

A Merseyside firm has been sentenced after a worker received life-threatening injuries when he fell from scaffolding at a Croxteth sports centre.

The scaffolding tower the worker fell from

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.

Liverpool Magistrates' Court was told today (18 September 2012) that the firm had been hired to install a suspended ceiling at the sports centre on Altcross Road in Croxteth but had made a last-minute change to its plan.

It had originally intended to use a scissor lift to reach the ceiling but did not arrange for the equipment to be delivered to the site, and so used a scaffolding tower instead.

The court heard the brakes on the wheels of the scaffolding tower had not been applied to stop it moving and there was no edge protection, including boards and rails, around the work platform to prevent employees falling off.

The man fell more than two metres to the concrete floor below when the tower started to move across the room as he was working.

The HSE investigation found the scaffolding tower had been made up of parts from several different manufacturers, all of which were in a poor or damaged condition.

CME Ceilings Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of employees. The company, of Domville Road in Broad Green, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Mark Baker said:

"One of CME Ceiling's employees has suffered severe physical and mental injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life.

"The scaffolding tower the company provided simply wasn't up to the job and his life was put in danger the minute he started to climb it.

"This case should act as a warning to firms not to cut corners and to make sure they use the right equipment for the job they're doing."

The latest figures show that 38 people died as a result of a fall in a workplace in Great Britain in 2010/11, and more than 4,000 suffered a major injury.

HSE Bulletin (Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

Is it just me or does anyone else get that Groundhog Day feeling? It seems there are more and more reports like this, which tell the story of a serious accident leading to life-changing injuries, down to the use of faulty equipment in the workplace. It is frustrating to read about such incidents, where a simple pre-use check of the equipment and some basic training of employees would have prevented the use of such blatantly dangerous equipment. Even to the untrained eye, a scaffold tower such as that one being used above, should start alarm bells ringing. I hope that anyone using scaffold towers reads this and thinks twice before using an untagged tower. A pre-use inspection may cost a few pennies and minutes, as opposed to injuries and fines. For more information about the Good to Go Safety tagging and checklist systems for scaffold towers please visit www.goodtogosafety.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. Very nice post that focus on how dodgy scaffold tower leads to life-threatening fall from height. I completely agree with you that in order to prevent such accident in the construction area you need best scaffolding on hire services. Thanks for the post sharing.


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