Man in ladder plunge horror

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A SHEFFIELD construction company has been fined £15,000 for breaching health and safety laws after a worker was left in a coma for two months when he fell from a ladder at work.

Carl Major, aged 31, was working for Killamarsh-based Macdonald Joinery and Construction Ltd and was on a step ladder stripping fixtures and fittings from a shop interior when he was hit on the head by a falling lighting pelmet.

Mr Major was knocked off the ladder and fell around three metres on to a concrete floor. He suffered serious head injuries and was in a coma for two months.

He later developed epilepsy, still requires medical treatment and has been unable to return to work.

Mr Major, of Retford, who is married with two children said: “It may sound dramatic, but this has really changed my life. I now have epilepsy so I can’t drive any more and I’ve been told I may never be able to go back to work in my trade as a plasterer.

“I’ve also lost my sense of smell so can’t enjoy cooking as I did. The whole thing has had a real impact on my family - the stress and the financial worries have made things worse.”

A Health and Safety Executive investigation revealed Macdonald Joinery and Construction Ltd had failed to provide Mr Major with the necessary information and instruction to enable him to carry out his work safely at the former Rosebys store at Teeside Retail Park in Stockton.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard although the company had produced a risk assessment and a system for working at height in the store, they were not sufficient. It failed to look at how the lighting pelmet and the wall to which it was attached were constructed.

As a result the company failed to identify dangers its workers would face, the court was told.

The firm, of Westthorpe Fields Business Park, Westthorpe Fields Road, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £6,228.75 costs.

After the case, HSE principal inspector Rob Hirst, said: “Mr Major has suffered long term injuries as a result of this serious incident, yet it could have easily been prevented if suitable and sufficient safety measures had been provided.”