Safety Signs News

Steeplejack firm fined after worker's fall from height

17th August 2010 | Warning Signs

Posted by Nicole Stevens.

A steeplejack firm in Stoke-on-Trent has been fined £8,000 after a worker fell from scaffolding and suffered serious injuries.

Rafferty Chimneys Engineering Ltd was working at a site in Tunstall when one of its workers fell over one metre to the ground, suffering serious injury to his left heel.

In a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Newcastle-under-Lyme magistrates heard how the man fell during dismantling a tower scaffold towards the end of the job. He slipped and fell suffering a heel fracture, needing pins inserted into the bone and spending 16 weeks in plaster.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. In addition to the fine it was also ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

The HSE investigation found that the tower's guard rail was too low, it did not use the right boards and no toe boards were in place.
HSE inspector Guy Dale said: "Working at height is the most common cause of workplace injuries and this incident shows the very real dangers, no matter what the distance to the ground.

"With the right equipment and a proper risk assessment this could have been prevented. As it was, there were so many instances and potential for falls throughout the day leading up to this event that it was lucky both men weren't involved in serious injuries."

Health and safety signage may have also helped to prevent the fall.

According to the HSE, last year there were 1,396 serious injuries to workers as a result of falls from height.


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