Maintenance contractor fell from unsecured makeshift platform31 October 2012
A contractor’s ability to continue working is in doubt after he suffered serious injuries when he fell from an unsecured platform.
The 34-year-old had been contracted to carry out maintenance work at Adhere Industrial Tapes Ltd’s factory in Colchester. On 16 November last year, he was replacing a light fitting at the site using a makeshift platform, which had been derived from a metal cage mounted on a wooden pallet. A reach truck was used to raise the platform, yet it was not secured to the vehicle.
As the contractor was standing on the platform, the cage toppled sideways off the truck’s forks and he fell seven metres to the ground. He suffered multiple factures to his skull, leg, back and wrist. He spent ten days in hospital and still remains on crutches. It’s still unclear if he will ever be able to return to work owing to his injuries.
The HSE visited the site on the day of the incident and launched an investigation. Inspectors identified that the work hadn’t been properly planned or supervised, and no risk assessment had been carried out.
As well as not being fitted to the vehicle, the platform had no restraint harness and no back guard to prevent entanglement in the truck’s lifting gear. None of the company’s drivers had been trained how to lift people. A Prohibition Notice was issued to the company, which ordered it to stop using the platform. The HSE also served an Improvement Notice ordering the firm to introduce management procedures to ensure contractors were properly monitored.
HSE inspector Paul Grover said: “This incident resulted from the use of sub-standard and wholly inappropriate work equipment to perform a dangerous work operation, which was undertaken by untrained workers who lacked any supervision or instructions regarding a safe system of work.
“Working arrangements fell well below the required legal standards and these breaches of statutory provisions resulted in serous injuries of a potentially life-changing nature. Given the height the contractor fell from, the incident clearly had the potential to have fatal consequences.”
Adhere Industrial Tapes Ltd appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on 26 October and pleaded guilty to breaching s3(1) of the HSWA 1974 and reg.4(2) of PUWER 1998. It was a fined a total of £12,000 and ordered to pay £4806 in costs.
After the hearing, inspector Grover added: “If appropriate work equipment had been used, together with a proper risk assessment, safe working procedures, training, information and supervision, the incident would have been entirely preventable.”
Join SHP Online
- ✔ Download free reports and research
- ✔ Access free Digital magazine
- ✔ Email newsletter briefings