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Sat June 22 2024

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Contractors fined after worker fall on botched farm project

22 Nov 11 A North Yorkshire contractor and its subcontractor have been fined after a worker was injured following a fall while working on the construction of a new farm building in Billingham.

The 36-year-old worker, from Bedale, who asked not to be named, was employed by Stephen Ramsey, trading as Up & Cover, who had been subcontracted by Waddington Buildings Limited to carry out steel erection work and cladding on the building at Brierton North Farm, Billingham.

Both Mr Ramsey and Waddington Buildings Limited were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over the incident on 29 August 2010.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court was told the worker was standing on a pallet fitted to a fork attachment of a tractor, which was lifted to heights of around four and a half metres to allow the worker to measure and fit guttering to the building.

The court heard the tractor was being operated by Stephen Ramsey when it unexpectedly moved with the pallet in a raised position causing the worker to lose his balance and fall to the ground.

He spent 15 days in hospital after his left heel was smashed and his right ankle was fractured and treatment is still ongoing.

HSE’s investigation revealed Mr Ramsey failed to carry out the work safely and Waddington Buildings Limited had failed to establish whether work carried out on their behalf would be done safely and whether Stephen Ramsey was competent to do the work.

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Stephen Ramsey, 31, of Emgate, Bedale, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £250 costs.

Waddington Buildings Limited, of Station Road, Brompton on Swale, pleaded guilty to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £900.

After the case, HSE Inspector Natalie Wright said: "Falls from height are known to be one of the largest causes of death and serious injury in both the construction and agriculture industries.

"This incident could and should have been avoided and demonstrates how important it is for work at height to be properly planned and safely undertaken. There are many well known methods of fall prevention that would have been reasonably practicable to use in this situation, such as a mobile elevated working platform.

"The incident also highlights the need for companies engaging subcontractors to make appropriate enquiries to determine the competence of those subcontractors."

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