Building firm fined over lack of working at height measures
Posted by Jason Nicholls.
The importance of safety signs has been highlighted after a Gloucestershire building contractor was fined following the discovery of a lack of measures in place to prevent employees working at height from falling.
Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited DA Cook (Builders) Limited, based in Winchcombe, in December 2009.
The visit found that workers had lifted steelwork weighing 92kg into place as part of a house extension using just scaffolding measuring 5ft high – which a risk assessment would have highlighted as an unsuitable method.
Employees had lifted the steel from the floor and onto the scaffold, then stood on it to fit the structure into position. There were no measures taken to prevent falls, the HSE said, and there was also no edge protection.
DA Cook was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,800 after pleading guilty at Gloucester Magistrates Court of failing to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act.
"The way this work was carried out, with four men lifting a heavy piece of steelwork onto a scaffolding platform and then lifting it into its final position was inappropriate and potentially dangerous," Tony Woodward, HSE inspector, said.
"Manual handling as we have seen here should be avoided wherever possible and appropriate equipment used."
According to the regulator's figures, over 4,000 major injuries were caused from falls from height at work in 2008/2009.
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