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38-year-old employee of M-tech Engineering Limited fell from a mobile tower scaffold

38-year-old employee of M-tech Engineering Limited fell from a mobile tower scaffold
29/02/2012

Two Nottingham-based firms face fines of £14,000 between them after a worker fell more than nine metres, fracturing his spine.

The 38-year-old employee of M-tech Engineering Limited fell from a mobile tower scaffold being used to install a steel staircase at a building in Convent Street, Nottingham, in April (15) 2009, magistrates heard on Monday (Febraury 27, 2012).

He fractured two vertebrae and was unable to work for almost seven months. The building was undergoing extensive refurbishment. Thomas Long & Sons Limited was the principal contractor and M-tech Engineering Limited had been contracted to install the staircase. The system of work was developed by M-tech Engineering.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffold tower had not been erected to the manufacturer's instructions or industry guidelines. It revealed that the tower was supported on a platform that was not sufficiently rigid to provide a suitable base and the working platform was not fitted with adequate guardrails to prevent falls.

HSE inspector Kevin Wilson said: "Work at height should be properly planned and a safe system of work developed with access equipment provided that is suitable for the task.

"The system of work in use at the time of the incident put operatives at risk of falls into the stairwell from the landings, the part installed staircase and from the mobile scaffold tower and supporting platform which did not provide a safe working platform.

"As a result a man suffered serious injuries. It was only chance that his injuries were not more severe as he fortuitously landed on a surface that absorbed the energy of his fall.

"Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and it's crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and that sufficient measures are put in place to protect staff from the risks."

M-tech Engineering Limited, of Third Avenue, Bulwell, Nottingham, admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees. Nottingham magistrates fined the company £8,000 and ordered it to pay costs of £4,000.

Thomas Long & Sons Limited, of Mile End Road, Colwick, Nottingham pleaded guilty to breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations for failing to plan, manage and monitor construction in a way that ensured it was carried out without risks to health and safety. The company was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

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