Scaffolder paralysed by fall
Hemel Hempstead Scaffolding Ltd has been fined more than £100,000 after one of its erection crew was paralysed by a fall from the roof of a barn.
Stewart Thomas from Hemel Hempstead, 31 at the time of the incident, was carrying out scaffolding work in preparation for the installation of solar panels on a barn roof at Gaddesden Home Farm in Hemel Hempstead on 25th July 2013.
St Albans Crown Court heard that Mr Thomas was placing scaffold boards along the roof ridge when he fell through the fragile roof to a concrete floor eight metres below. He suffered multiple injuries to his head and neck including a brain stem injury, a punctured lung, broken ribs and a lacerated liver. He is now unable to talk, move or feed himself and requires residential care.
A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Hemel Hempstead Scaffolding Ltd had not provided a written method statement or risk assessment for this work. Critically there were no fall protection measures in place, and there was also no appropriate supervision of inexperienced and trainee scaffolders on the site.
Hemel Hempstead Scaffolding Ltd of Seymour Crescent, Hemel Hempstead pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act, 1974 and was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £22,596 in costs.
HSE Inspector Stephen Manley said after the hearing: “The company’s approach to health and safety was poor. They failed to properly and safely plan the work they were contracted to carry out and failed to supervise inexperienced young workers. The particular works would have been unfamiliar to the team and so the lack of thorough supervision was lamentable.
“As a result of their failings a young father has been left being unable to communicate or look after himself and he will never be able to play with his young daughter. When working at height, there is a high likelihood of serious injury or death if safe procedures are not put in place and adequate steps taken to ensure they are followed”.
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This article was published on 15 Feb 2016 (last updated on 15 Feb 2016).