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A building firm has been fined after a worker suffered a serious fall on the construction site of a new farm building. The accident, which took place in Billingham, involved a 36 year old man, who has asked not to be named. The worker was employed by Stephen Ramsay, trading as Up & Cover, and had been subcontracted by Waddington Buildings Limited to perform building work at Brierton North Farm.

The incident occurred when the worker was standing on a pallet that had been fitted to the fork attachment of a tractor. The pallet was lifted to heights of around four and a half metres to allow the worker to assess and fit guttering to the farm building. Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard that the tractor was being manoeuvred by Stephen Ramsay when an unexpected movement resulted in the worker falling from the pallet.

The worker was admitted to hospital for 15 days and suffered a smashed heel, ankle fracture and additional injuries that will require ongoing medical treatment.

An investigation conducted by the HSE concluded that Mr Ramsey failed to perform his work safely, and Waddington Buildings Limited had also failed to identify whether the work carried out on their behalf was done so safely.

Both parties were found guilty and Stephen Ramsay was fined £1,000 for breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and ordered to pay £250 in costs. Waddington Buildings Limited also faced a fine after breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was charged £3,500, with additional costs of £900.

HSE Inspector Natalie Wright offered her thoughts on the case, saying:

"Falls from height are known to be one of the largest causes of death and serious injury in both the construction and agriculture industries. There are many well known methods of fall prevention that would have been reasonably practicable to use in this situation, such as a mobile elevated working platform."

"The incident also highlights the need for companies engaging subcontractors to make appropriate enquiries to determine the competence of those subcontractors."

Commenting on the outcome, Helen Grieves, founder and principal at Grieves Solicitors, said:

"From working closely with victims of work accidents and their families, we have seen the distress caused when a business fails to check that health and safety measures have been followed"

"That's why the personal injury solicitors at Grieves work so hard to recover the compensation victims deserve. This accident should never have happened and it is incidents of this nature that highlight the employer's responsibility to ensure workers are not exposed to unnecessarily dangerous situations"

Based in Huddersfield, Grieves Solicitors specialise in asbestos-related illness compensation claims. Helen Grieves is a qualified solicitor with a Diploma in Advanced Litigation from Leeds Metropolitan University and a Master Degree in Advanced Litigation from Nottingham Trent University. For more information, visit their website: http://www.grieves-solicitors.co.uk/.

Press Contact:

Helen Grieves
Grieves Solicitors
Email: Helen.Grieves@grieves-solicitors.co.uk
Phone: 0800 0747 644

Source:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2011/coi-ne-12011.htm

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