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Apprentice left with permanent eye damage

15 Nov 21 A Bradford-based construction company has been fined after an apprentice was injured at work leading to significant sight loss in his right eye.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how Pearl Services UK Ltd had been contracted to carry out refurbishment of a retail store in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. On 23rd February 2020 employees were erecting PVC hoarding within the store to separate the refurbishment work area from members of the public.

An apprentice decorator, who was helping joiners set up the hoarding, struck one of the PVC panels with a mallet, causing it to splinter. A fragment penetrated their right eye, causing serious injury and loss of sight.

The incident has resulted in a life-changing injury to the person who will not regain full sight in his right eye, despite several operations

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Pearl Services UK Ltd had failed to suitably plan, manage and monitor the project. Risk assessments and method statements had not fully identified the need to wear safety eyewear during the erection of the hoarding. In addition to this, the supervisor had failed to ensure that the documentation available on-site was communicated to the operatives before starting work.

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Although safety glasses were available on site, wearing them had not been made mandatory, neither were checks carried out to ensure they were worn.

Pearl Services UK Limited of Pearl House Commondale Way, Euroway Trading Estate, Bradford pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. It was fined £16,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,778.40

HSE inspector Phil Redman said the hearing: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by providing suitable information, instruction, supervision and training to site personnel in respect of the fitting of the PVC site hoarding.”

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MPU

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