Lack of access ladder on scaffold led to fall

A man on work experience suffered fractured ribs when he fell from a tower scaffold. The Company was fined £3000 after the magistrates court was told that there was no access ladder on the scaffold, and the working platform and edge protection was incomplete.

The man was using the scaffold to maintain a fluorescent light fitting at a factory unit, which the Company was refurbishing. He climbed up the internal bracing of the scaffold and fell 4.5 metres when the bar he pulled on came away.

The HSE served a prohibition notice on the scaffold to the two directors of the company, when it investigated the accident.

Pleading guilty to a breach of section 3(1) of the HSWA the company said that it had co-operated with the HSE, had not undertaken any work at height since the accident and showed audited accounts to the court on its ability to pay a fine as the company had only been trading six months when the accident happened. It was also ordered to pay costs of £1398.

Prosecuting inspector John Moran, after the case, was reported to have said that this had been an unnecessary accident as the company could have followed a HSE guidance note on tower scaffolds and hired an alternative scaffold.

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