26 Aug 2011

Company fined after man dies from fall off faulty ladder

A Barnet-based wholesaler has been fined after a man died of injuries sustained when he fell from a stepladder.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Ovenpride Wholesale Ltd and manager Amjad Mahmood for failing to provide a safe system of work which, led to the death of handyman Rocco Carofalo.

The City of London Magistrates' Court heard on the morning of 22 April 2009 Mr Carofalo, who was employed as a casual handyman at Ovenpride's Finchley Rd Bakery, was asked to build shelving in the storeroom by the site manager.

During the morning Mr Carofalo had been seen standing on a stepladder while working on the shelving using tools and materials provided by Ovenpride.

At around midday he was found lying on the floor bleeding from a severe head wound, with the stepladder beside him. He died as a result of his injuries on 23 June.

Two HSE Inspectors visited the scene after the incident and issued a Prohibition Notice stopping any work at height because of the unsuitability of all access equipment. A stepladder deemed to be in very poor condition, was taken from the bakery by HSE inspectors.

After the hearing, HSE's Inspector Charles Linfoot said:

"The consequences of this tragic incident will be felt by Mr Carofalo's family for ever but it was so easily preventable. As the risk of a fall was foreseeable, Ovenpride and its manager should have carried out a full site-specific risk assessment and planned and organised the work to be carried out in a safe manner.

"Where access to heights is required, even for relatively short term work, they are ultimately responsible for assessing and planning the work and ensuring that it is carried out in a safe manner using suitable access equipment."

Ovenpride Wholesale Ltd, of Empire Way, Brent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £1.

Amjad Mahmood of Donnington Road, Brent pleaded guilty to also breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined a total of £300 and ordered to pay costs of £200.
HSE Bulletin No: COISE/2017(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)

It would appear that the cause of the accident in this incident may be down to the state of the stepladder being used which was "deemed to be in very poor condition". Stepladders should be checked before use to ensure they are fit for purpose and any potential problems identified. This is a relatively straight forward inspection that a competent person could carry out quickly and easyily. Good to Go Safety can provide you with a simple solution to help avoid incidents like this from happening. 

A tag is attached to the ladder which clearly displays a 'Do Not Use' message until such time that checklist has been completed and inserted inside the tag to indicate it has been checked and found to be 'Good to Go'. A duplicate record of all completed checklists is retained for management records and as proof of an adequate ladder log and/or maintenance schedule. To find out more about the Good to Go Safety Ladder Inspection Systems visit the www.goodtogosafety.co.uk website.

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