Tuesday, 24 June 2014

4m fall from ladder after poorly organised work at height

Hedley Solutions Ltd, of Peterborough, was fined £10,296 (inc. costs) after a worker fell 4m from a ladder.
The circumstances were:

  • Employee Lee Rutherford was installing audio visual equipment at a school with a colleague. 
  • The work had not been properly assessed or planned by Hedley Solutions Ltd.
  • He was using a set of combination ladders.
  • The ladders were being used as an extension ladder.
  • The ladders had not been secured  
  • There was no effective anti-slip device or any other measure in use to provide stability.
  • While working at the top of the ladder, it slipped and he fell around four and a half metres to the floor
  • Mr Rutherford suffered fractures to his lower right leg and upper right arm, and a shattered elbow
  • He required reconstructive surgery and also developed serious side-effects in his left shoulder as a result of his treatment. .
The HSE Inspector said:
“The height of the ceiling in the hall at Filey Junior School was around five metres and the consequences of a fall from this height onto a wooden floor could have been fatal. As it was this young man suffered serious injuries from which he is still recovering. The real tragedy is that it could so easily have been avoided if Hedley Solutions Ltd had properly assessed and planned the work in advance. An assessment of the risks would have shown that due to the length of the task, the distance and consequences of a potential fall, and the work required, ladders were not appropriate and an alternative means of access could have been provided. Falling from height remains one of the biggest causes of death and major injury in the workplace. It is crucial that employers properly assess and plan any task that involves working from height and use the most appropriate work equipment which prevents a fall occurring. There is a wide selection of work equipment available that is designed specially for work at height and there is no excuse for putting workers at unnecessary risk of serious injury, or even death.”

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