Worker broke wrist in scaffolding fall

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A SOUTH Yorkshire glazing firm has been fined £2,500 after a worker fell from unsafe scaffolding and broke his wrist.

Phillip Pears, who was 20 at the time, was working for Premier Security Glazing Ltd when he fell 10ft while working at a house in York in June 2009.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found Mr Pears, another colleague, and Premier’s managing director had erected two tower scaffolds 10ft apart and put wooden boards across the gaps to make one extended platform from which to work.

There were no handrails on the scaffolds or the boards.

Mr Pears climbed a ladder leaning against the scaffold and stepped onto an unsecured board which then slipped.

He fell 3.5 metres on to the pavement below, fracturing his wrist and bruising his back.

York Magistrates Court heard Mr Pears had not been trained in the safe use of tower scaffolds, but was regularly expected to use them.

The court heard Premier Security Glazing Ltd, based on Marriot Road, Swinton, had employed a risk adviser some months before the incident.

It had even received a health and safety audit on its systems of work, including recommendations for safe working at height and the correct use of tower scaffolds, but the company had not implemented the recommendations.

The firm pleaded guilty to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure the safety of its employees and was fined £2,500 with £2,644.90 costs.

Health and Safety Executive Inspector Sarah Lee said: “The dangers of working from poorly-erected tower scaffolds are well known and are responsible for many injuries each year.

“Had the company followed widely-available guidance from the Health and Safety Executive, the manufacturer’s instructions, or the findings of the company’s own safety audit then this incident could have been easily prevented.

“Companies must realise that it is not acceptable to expect their em ployees to use work equipment without the proper training.

“Mr Pears has made a full recovery but so often these types of incidents have fatal consequences.”