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A journalist with 13 years of experience on trade publications covering construction, local government, property, pubs, and transport.
August 30, 2017

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West Lothian Council fined £10k after ladder fall

Livingston Sheriff CourtWest Lothian Council has been fined £10,000 after a worker was left with severe injuries following a fall from height.

The council pleaded guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court to a single charge under the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The court heard how a ladder had slid from a wall while the painter was working on external window frames in the town of Bathgate in July 2013.

As a result, he fell more than four metres to the ground, and suffered injuries to his hip and leg as well as eight fractures to his knee.


Livingston Sheriff Court heard how either an alloy tower or podium steps should have been used due to the level of risk and the amount of time that employees were using the equipment.

Other products that could have improved the safety of working at height, such as ladder mates to prevent slipping, and a limpet device to prevent lateral movement, were not supplied.

The council accepted the findings and that it had failed to either properly plan or supervise the work.

Overhaul of systems

Following the incident, the local authority has overhauled its system for working at height.

It now provides a new assessment template that was developed following the incident.


Head of the health and safety division at the Crown Office, Laura Buchan, said: “This incident could easily have been prevented had suitable and sufficient measures been put in place.

“Falls from height are one of the greatest single causes of death and serious injury to workers within the construction industry.

“Hopefully this prosecution and the sentence will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”

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Graham Peters
Graham Peters
4 years ago

4 years to come to court, a disgraceful amount of time for a simple case such as this. Shame on the legal profession and the law (is an ass).