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Untrained scaffolder unlikely ever to work again after fall

7 Nov 12 A Gillingham scaffolding company and its director have been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered life-changing injuries in a 2.5m fall from a scaffold platform at a property in Kent.

The jobsite in Meopham
The jobsite in Meopham

The worker, who was untrained, fell from the first lift of the scaffold as it was being dismantled. He was passing boards down to another worker when he lost his footing and fell to the concrete below.

The man, from Rainham, Kent, who does not wish to be named, suffered severe head injuries and needed surgery to remove the frontal lobe of the brain. He spent many weeks in hospital and is unlikely to be able to work again.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) yesterday (6 November) prosecuted Paramount Scaffolding Ltd and director Luke Jessup, both of Gillingham, Kent after investigating the incident at the house in Meopham, near Gravesend, on 25 January this year.

Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court heard that Paramount Scaffolding had a three-man team on site to dismantle the scaffolding. Director Luke Jessup was the only trained scaffolder among them.

The injured worker was standing on the first level of the scaffold and passing boards to a colleague below. The platform had been six boards wide and was down to three when he lost his footing and fell. The edge protection had already been removed.

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Paramount Scaffolding Ltd of Wigmore Road, Gillingham, and Luke Jessup of Wigmore Road, Gillingham, both pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Both Paramount and Mr Jessup were fined £2,000 with £1,000 costs each.

After the hearing HSE inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said: "This is a very stark example of the tragedy that can result from a task carried out at height without proper thought and planning. It has resulted in life-changing injuries for the worker and has had a devastating impact on his family. In addition, Mr Jessup was a personal friend, and he also has to live with the consequences of his role in the incident.

"What happened that day was totally preventable if simple working methods had been followed and the untrained workers had been more closely and better supervised to ensure they carried out the work safely.

"The scaffolding industry has produced guidance on the safe working methods to follow and this case sadly reflects the harsh reality of not doing so."

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