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July 26, 2021

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Fine after maintenance fitter dies in fall from height

A forging company has been fined after an employee suffered a fatal injury when he fell from height from a mobile tower scaffold.

A Stokes Group Limited employee George Clifford was fatally injured at the company site on Cochrane Road,  Dudley, West Midlands, after falling from a tower scaffold whilst dismantling a Eumuco 2000 Tonne Forging Press, Dudley Magistrates’ Court was told. The incident happened on 19 June 2019.

The HSE’s investigation found the company had failed to have a safe system of work in place for the dismantling of the forging press and did not provide information, instruction and training for the task. The mobile scaffold tower was erected without suitable and sufficient measures namely guard rails to prevent a person falling a distance liable to cause injury.

Stokes Group Limited of Cochrane Road, Holly Hall, Dudley, West Midlands pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,885.20.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Karen Sweeney said. “The incident could have been prevented if the work had been properly planned, risk assessed and a safe system of work put in place for the dismantling of the forging press. When devising a safe system of work, consideration should have been given to the selection of work equipment for work at height and whether a mobile tower scaffold was appropriate.

“The incident could also have been prevented had the tower scaffold been erected with suitable and sufficient measures such as guard rails, to prevent a person falling a distance liable to cause injury.”

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