A Lichfield-based firm carrying out work in Perth has been fined for serious safety failings after two workers fell over four metres when a vehicle spray booth they were constructing collapsed.
John Quinn aged 35 and Joshua Perry aged 21 both of Lichfield were employed by Clive Thompson Installations Ltd when on 22 January 2014 they accessed the partially completed roof of the spray booth in order to fit an extractor fan.
Mr Quinn sustained multiple fractures to both his heels that resulted in a four week stay in hospital and several operations. He had to use a wheelchair for several weeks after his release from hospital. He now uses crutches, cannot stand for long and continues to have severe pain in both feet. In addition to the physical symptoms Mr Quinn has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mr Perry suffered multiple fractures to his spine and ankle and extensive soft tissue damage to other parts of his body including nerve damage to his right leg and foot. He has required ongoing surgery and bone grafts and had to wear a full body spinal cast for 16 weeks. He has suffered financially and emotionally since the incident.
Perth Sheriff Court was told today (26 May) that the Company did not provide their employees with a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the work they were due to carry out. Having failed to visit the site before carrying out the work they were unaware of any site specific hazards and could not therefore provide instruction on where to attach a fall protection harness.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that although Clive Thompson Installation Ltd were aware that the roofs of the booths were fragile and that fitting extractor fans required employees to cross the roof, no safe system of work was put in place. The company also failed to provide suitable training for their employees for working on fragile roofs.
Clive Thompson Installation Ltd of Tamworth Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire, was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Following the case, HSE inspector Norman Buchanan said:
“This was an entirely avoidable incident. Falling from height is one of the most common reasons for injuries and fatalities at work.
“Clive Thompson Installations Ltd should have been aware of the risks and the precautions that needed to be taken before starting the work. The dangers of fragile roofs are well known and site specific plans for where to secure safety harnesses should have been put in place
“By failing to properly plan the work and provide sufficient training , two workers have suffered serious injuries which have had a profound effect on their lives”
Falling through fragile roofs and rooflights accounts for almost a fifth of all the fatal incidents which result from falls from height. On average, seven people are killed every year after falling through a fragile roof or rooflight. Many others suffer permanent disabling injuries.
For more information about working at height visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls
Notes to Editors:
- The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- In Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has sole responsibility for the raising of criminal proceedings for breaches of health and safety legislation
- Section 2.1 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: ‘It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”