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Two contractors fined after fall leaves worker brain-damaged

19 Mar 10 Two contractors and the directors of a decorating firm have been prosecuted after a worker was left brain-damaged while working at a residential refurbishment.

Two contractors and the directors of a decorating firm have been prosecuted after a worker was left brain-damaged while working at a residential refurbishment.

Trevor Dawson from Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, was working as a painter on a student accommodation refurbishment when the incident happened 15 August 2007.

Huddersfield Magistrates' Court heard Dawson had been employed at Ashenhurst Student Village in Newsom when he apparently fell from a ladder, though no witnesses could confirm this.

On Wednesday, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Liversedge Decorating Contractors, two of its directors, and a second company, Foster Turn-Key Contracts, for health and safety breaches.

The HSE investigation found principal contractor Foster Turn-Key Contracts and Liversedge Decorating Contractors, contracted to decorate the flats, had allowed work to be carried out that was not adequately planned or supervised and had used inappropriate equipment.

Liversedge Decorating Contractors of Dewsbury pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and were fined £2,000.

Paul Daniel of Brighouse and Clive Dewhirst of Dewsbury, both directors of the firm, also pleaded guilty to the same charge. They were fined £1,000 each.

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Foster Turn-Key Contractors of Huddersfield pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 (1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined £2,000.

Dawson is unable to recall any details of the incident because of his injuries sustained to his head.

After the hearing HSE inspector David Stewart said: "The ladder Trevor Dawson used, which we believe may have caused or contributed to his fall, was simply not suitable for the work he was doing. It was a domestic step ladder which should not have been allowed on the site.

"In this situation, a tower scaffold would have been much more appropriate.

"Falls from height remain the single most common cause of fatality and serious injury in the construction industry. The law is quite clear and HSE provides freely-available guidance on how work at height should be managed.

"In this instance, individual directors of a company were found guilty for not planning and supervising the work properly. This case should send a clear message to company directors about their responsibilities for health and safety."

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