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Essex firm fined after contractor fell seven metres

The platform from which the worker fellAn Essex manufacturing firm has been fined after a contractor suffered multiple fractures to his skull, leg, back and wrist when he fell from an unsecured platform.

The 34-year-old from Colchester, who does not wish to be named, was replacing a light fitting from a makeshift work platform derived from a metal cage mounted on a wooden pallet. He had been lifted up by a reach truck, but as he started working the cage toppled sideways off the vehicle's forks and he was thrown seven metres to the ground below.

After the incident on 16 November 2011 at Adhere Industrial Tapes Ltd. in Colchester the injured contractor required surgery and spent 10 days in hospital. He remains on crutches and is still undergoing physiotherapy and aqua therapy to help his recovery. He has not worked since the incident leaving his working future in doubt.

On 26 October, Colchester Magistrates' Court heard that Adhere had failed to ensure that work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the company after an investigation found that the work platform used to lift the contractor lacked essential safeguards, including restraint harnesses, any means to secure the cage to the forks of the truck and a back guard to prevent entanglement in the truck's lifting gear. None of the company's drivers have been trained in lifting persons.

The court was told the company had no risk assessment or safe working procedure in place for this operation, and no procedures in place for the management of contractors.

Adhere Industrial Tapes Ltd., of Unit 1, Whitehall Industrial Estate, Whitehall Road, Colchester, Essex, was fined £12,000 and £4,806 costs after pleading guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 4(2) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.


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