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Worker entitled to make claim against employer after he fell eighteen feet from a platform

by Direct 2 Lawyers on June 13, 2013

A South Wales worker could launch a personal injury claim against his employer after he was knocked almost twenty feet from the platform he was standing , suffering serious injuries as a result.

A worker could make a claim for personal injury against his employer – an engineering farm – after the fall from height last year.

The incident occurred on 14 January 2012 when the worker – who asked not to be named – was using a scissor crane to replace high level lights in the workshop of a South Wales engineering firm, Dollcast Ltd. The worker suffered serious injuries as a result, including five broken ribs, injuries to his elbow and damage to his hip.

The Health and Safety Executive subsequently investigated the case after it was brought to its attention. This investigation recommended that a prosecution be initiated against Dollcast under s.3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, namely that the company had failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment who may have been affected by the undertakings were not exposed to risks to their health and safety”.

The case came before the Brigend Magistrates Court on 13 May 2013. The court heard that the self-employed contractor had been carrying out his duties on the scissor crane when an adjacent gantry creane had knocked into the scissor crane, knocking the worker to the floor. The HSE’s investigation found that there was not a suitable system of work in place and that a suitable risk assessment hadn’t been carried out and that there hadn’t been an attempt to isolate the gantry crane from the work conducted by the scissor crane.

The Magistrates Court found the company guilty of a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 after the company pleaded guilty. Dollcast Ltd was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs of £9,671.

Marc Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans employment solicitors, commented on the case that “falls from height can be particularly serious for those affected – that’s why there are specific regulations to deal with them. Employers have a legal obligation – but also arguably a moral obligation – to ensure that their workers don’t suffer injury through fault on the part of the employer.”

HSE inspector Lee Schilling issued the following statement on the case: “This was a serious incident and, in a fall of six metres, this worker was lucky not to have lost his life. It was also needless and avoidable. The incident could have easily been prevented if a simple, suitable system of work had been used by Dollcast, including the secure isolation of the overhead crane from its power supply.”

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