January 24, 2019

HSE prosecutes scaffolding firm after worker is left disabled following fall

News Article

A scaffolding firm has been prosecuted for failing to protect one of its workers who sustained life changing injuries following a fall from height.

Magistrates heard how 49 year-old Paul Norris, had been erecting scaffolding for his employer, Dorset-based Solar Scaffold Services Limited.

After completing work on an access tower, Mr Norris went to help his colleagues put in place guard rails, but as he attempted to gain access via the roof he fell through a skylight, and suffered serious fractures to his pelvis, wrists, ribs, elbow and arm.

Mr Norris, who was in hospital for three weeks and had to undergo a number of operations, has now been registered disabled. He has since had to move to an adapted flat and cannot return to work. His wife has also been forced to give up work in order to care for him.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Solar Scaffold Services Ltd had failed to ensure the work at height was properly planned, supervised and carried out safely. Magistrates fined the company £10,000 plus costs of more than £3,600.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Caroline Penwill said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“Mr Norris’s injuries were life changing for both him and his family. He could have easily been killed. This serious incident could have been avoided if the work had been properly planned to reduce risk.”

Samantha Randall, a Solicitor with Palmers, who specialises in employment law, said: “HSE breaches not only lead to immeasurable distress for the victims and their families but can also be extremely costly for a company in terms of financial penalties and loss of reputation.

“Any company director who is concerned as to whether their workplace health and safety standards are compliant, should seek expert legal advice.

“A workplace health and safety audit and risk assessment will help identify any areas which require improvement and will certainly be far more cost effective than risking a court fine or, worse still, a serious incident involving injury to a worker.”

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