Contractor fined after employee falls fifteen feet from scaffolding

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A contractor has been fined £18,000 after an employee fell fifteen feet from scaffolding, resulting in ten fractured ribs, a fractured shoulder and a collapsed lung

Manchester Magistrates Court heard how on 24 October 2019, an employee of TA Knox Shopfitters Ltd was working from a tower scaffold at the front of the Footasylum Store in the Trafford Centre, Manchester, when the scaffold moved throwing him off balance.

He fell back against the safety rail of the scaffold, which gave way and he fell fifteen feet to the ground.

Findings

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the safety rail had not been fixed in place correctly, causing it to give way when the employee fell against it.

It also found that the tower scaffold had not been erected by somebody with the appropriate skills, knowledge and training. If the edge protection had been suitable and sufficient and the tower was constructed by somebody competent to erect tower scaffolds, the incident could have been prevented.

TA Knox Shopfitters Ltd of Hollingworth Road, Bredbury, Stockport pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,623.

This incident ‘could so easily have been avoided’

HSE inspector Seve Gomez-Aspron said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and severe injuries in this country.

“The risks associated with work at height are well known. This incident could so easily have been avoided by ensuring that suitable and sufficient edge protection had been used and qualified people had been on site to erect a tower scaffold.”

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