Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that, in November 2017, a worker was welding metal components while working at height on a set of podium steps that had been taken from another factory.
The steps toppled over, causing the employee to fall approximately two metres to the floor and fracture two vertebrae.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that the tower crane hire company, part of the JRL Group, had failed to follow its own internal procedures, and did not carry out a risk assessment nor determine a safe system of work. The podium steps had been modified with the addition of feet that were contrary to the manufacturers’ instructions. But stabiliser bars had not been fitted and workers had not been trained in their correct use.
London Tower Crane Hire & Sales Limited of Elstree Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £54,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £1,544.00.
HSE inspector Parmjit Gahir said after the hearing: “This case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to select and correctly assemble access equipment, along with implementing the necessary training, instruction and supervision to prevent such falls occurring. Podium steps are a recognised safe solution for working at height however, if they are used incorrectly, they can become a danger themselves.”