Decorator falls head first from stairwell due to inadequate guard rail

Posted on 05/07/14 in News, No Comments

First Reported by the Health and Safety Executive  on 6th February 2014:

A decorator from Cambridgeshire suffered injuries which included the fracture of several ribs, his left arm and thumb; snapped tendons to an index finger; a cut and bruised head; two cracked vertebrae; and several collapsed discs.

In January 2012 the man was employed by a company to undertake decorating to a residential building site. He was working on the first floor of a block of flats in Cambridgeshire in January 2012. He had stopped to talk to colleagues on the ground floor, when he leant against a wooden guard- rail around the stairwell. The guard-rail was unable to support him and it collapsed, causing the worker to fall headfirst onto the stairs below.

It was found by the HSE that temporary guard rails at the site did not meet the legal requirements. If it had been robust, properly designed and constructed the accident could have been prevented.

He was hospitalised for five days and has yet to return to work.

The company was fined over £7,000.00 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Gavin Bull, said:

“Hill Partnerships failed to ensure the guard-rails they provided to prevent falls inside the buildings were suitable when work was being undertaken. There are well established design standards for temporary guard-rails that could have been adopted and put in place.

“Construction work is a high-risk activity and falls account for a large proportion of all deaths and serious injuries. The end result here is that Mr Scanlon sustained serious injuries that could have been avoided.”

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