Council fined after worker falls 35 feet
Posted by Jason Nicholls
A council has been fined following an incident in which a worker who was using a cherry picker fell 35 feet and almost died.
Bradford Council has admitted serious safety breaches after an employee of one of its parks plunged 11 metres from the cradle of the cherry picker when working on some treetops.
It occurred in July last year at Bierley Hall Woods, when two tree workers had set up the vehicle on a compacted path in the woods, with one man being raised to the height of the trees to carry out the work.
As the worker below extended the cradle among the tree tops and rotated the boom arm and cradle anti-clockwise to move from tree to tree, the weight distribution of the machine changed and the cherry picker overturned, sending the worker above crashing to the ground.
He suffered a number of injuries, including fractures to his spine, collar bone, pelvis and right leg, as well as internal injuries that required surgery, all of which kept the 22-year-old off work for five months.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which fined Bradford Council £12,000 and ordered it to pay £9,623 in costs, for breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of one of its employees while working at height.
Following the hearing, HSE Inspector David Welsh noted that a young man had suffered "life-changing injuries" as a result of a number of failures by the council and acknowledged that it could have easily resulted in death, considering the height of the fall.
"The use of a vehicle-mounted cherry picker for work at height needs to be properly planned and organised. The council failed to assess the risks of the tree pruning work and provided unsuitable mats for the stabiliser feet, which led to an unsafe system of work being in operation," he commented.
Mr Welsh explained that work at height remains one of the most significant causes of death and major injuries in the UK and advised that all such work needs to be carefully planned, with the correct equipment used for each task and adequate supervision in place.
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