29 Jan 2016

Firm fined for safety failings after worker fell four metres from scaffolding

An East Anglian Scaffolding company was fined after a worker fell over four metres suffering severe injuries.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard how a 39 year old worker fell from the second lift of a scaffold while it was being dismantled. Mr Hemphill (39 years old) fell approximately 5m. Before striking the ground Mr Hemphill collided with the scaffolding twice before finally hitting the ground below.

He sustained nine broken ribs (left side), a punctured lung, fractured skull and a fractured spleen. He spent five days in hospital and at the time of the accident was expected to have at least 3 to 4 months off work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident which occurred on 23 February 2015 found that there were no guard rails on the area from where Mr Hemphill was working and neither was he provided with a harness and lanyard to clip on with. As a result there was nothing to stop him from falling.

SP Scaffolding (East Anglia) Limited of Gosbecks Road, Colchester, Essex pleaded guilty to breaching Work at height Regulations 2005, regulation 6(3) and were fined £8,000 with costs of £3,003.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Julie Rayner, said: “This incident could easily have been avoided had a guard rail been in place or if Mr Hemphill had been provided with a harness & lanyard to wear which was clipped on when he was working.

“The guidance relating to scaffolding is very clear – no person working on a scaffold, whether putting it up or taking it down should be in any area unless it has a guard rail or they are wearing suitable fall arrest harnesses which are clipped on.

“This case clearly highlights the need to ensure that all people working for you, employees or not are suitably trained and that they know the required standards and implement them.”

The Good to Go Safety checklist can be used to help indicate that pre-use checks have been carried out and a “Good to Go” message displayed in the tag window to inform people of its status. Is your scaffolding Good to Go?

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