Teenage worker falls from makeshift work platform

Grant Prior 3 years ago
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Contractor LJM Building Services Ltd has been sentenced for safety breaches after a teenage worker fell three metres from a makeshift platform.

An HSE picture of the accident scene
An HSE picture of the accident scene

Grimsby Magistrates’ Court heard that on 8 May 2019, the 18-year-old worker and another colleague were installing a block and beam floor by lifting large concrete beams from a telehandler and placing them onto the first-floor steels at the construction site on in Killingholme, Immingham.

While manoeuvring the large, heavy beams the worker slipped and fell to the ground sustaining a fractured pelvis and bruising.

An HSE investigation found that the workers had not been provided with any instructions as to how to carry out this work safely.

No scaffolding or other work platform had been provided on site to allow them to access first floor height.

The workers therefore used some scaffold boards laid across the first-floor steels in order to provide a makeshift work platform to carry out the work.

The scaffold boards were not secured in place and did not fill the necessary area.

There was therefore a drop of around three metres down to the ground on all sides of the boards.

Instead, a temporary crash deck or ‘birdcage scaffold’ should have been in place to provide a safe and stable work platform which did not have open edges.

LJM Building Services Ltd of Barnetby pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,314 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Jennifer Elsgood commented: “LJM Building Services Ltd did not have an established safe system of work, meaning that the workers had to devise their own system using the limited resources available.

“Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries. In most cases, these incidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning the work to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place.

“Appropriate supervision of the work by the company would also have prevented this unsafe system of work from being adopted.”

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