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Height safety fail for access firm

12 Sep 12 Access hire firm UK Platforms has been fined £8k for what must be a candidate for the world’s most ironic industrial injury.

UK Platforms trains in safe working at height
UK Platforms trains in safe working at height

An employee seriously hurt himself falling from the engine canopy of a boom lift in the company’s yard, having opted not to use another platform to gain safe access. This was despite the fact that company offers training in safe working at height and the use of powered access machines.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted UK Platforms Ltd following the incident on 28 March 2011 at the company's depot in Halesfield, Telford.

Telford Magistrates' Court heard how the 42-year-old man, who does not want to be named, was standing on the cherry picker's engine canopy to repair the mechanical arm when he fell two metres, landing on a concrete floor.

He suffered a compression fracture to his skull, which caused bleeding on his brain, and fractured four vertebrae, four ribs and his collarbone. He was in hospital for nearly two weeks and has not been able to return to work since the incident

HSE's investigation into the incident found UK Platforms had failed to plan or supervise the work properly and there was no protection to stop the man from falling from the machine.

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UK Platforms Ltd, of Stafford Park 1, Telford, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and today (11 September) was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £5,888 costs.

HSE inspector Katharine Walker said after the hearing: "Almost a year after this entirely avoidable incident, a man is still unable to work and may not make a full recovery from these life-changing injuries.

"Companies must ensure that work at height is properly planned and supervised and carried out safely to prevent falls. If UK Platforms had used another powered access platform alongside the cherry picker, the incident would never have happened.

"It is unacceptable to see such failings, particularly as UK Platforms hires out access equipment for working safely at height and therefore should have known how to carry out this job."

With more than 2,000 mobile elevating work platforms for hire, UK Platforms is one of the country’s top 10 powered access providers. It is owned by the French equipment manufacturer Haulotte.

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