Worker fractures skull and breaks ribs in roof fall

Grant Prior 8 years ago
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A North Yorkshire-based construction company has appeared in court after one of its employees suffered a fractured skull and eight broken ribs in a four-metre fall.

The 50 year-old construction worker was using a saw to cut through steel sheets of a mezzanine floor when he started to unbalance.

He threw the saw through a hole in the metal framework and then fell himself, hitting the concrete floor below.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that HACS Construction Ltd had been contracted in August 2012 to lower the mezzanine floor it had previously installed at a unit on the Pool Business Park on the outskirts of the city.

The injured worker and a colleague had already broken up and disposed of all the concrete and were working on removing the steel sheeting, working in sections and dropping the cut metal to the floor below.

At one point as a steel sheet fell, the employee felt his boot getting closer to an open edge, looked through the hole he had created and felt a panic.

He threw the saw through the hole and then fell himself. Although he sustained multiple injuries, he has since been able to return to work.

Magistrates heard HSE found the HACS Construction Ltd had not put any precautions in place to prevent falls from the mezzanine level during the work.

The safety harnesses they had provided to the two workers were unsuitable and neither had been given training in how to use them.

HSE said the company had considered the use of a ‘crash deck’ at the outset of the work but a decision was made not to proceed as it would save time.

HACS Construction Ltd of Station Yard, Ripley, Harrogate, was fined a total of £16,000 and ordered to pay £7,847 towards costs after admitting two safety breaches.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Andy Denison said: “It is shocking that some construction firms – which are well aware of the high levels of death and injury in their sector as well as the risks involved – are still not fully considering the safety of site workers.

“There were many failings by HACS Construction Ltd that HSE discovered.

“They had not properly assessed the risks of the job; they didn’t provide the correct equipment to allow it to be done safely; adequate training was not given to the two men; there was no supervision, and they failed to take suitable precautions to prevent a fall.”

 

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