A worker suffered a broken arm after falling off the unprotected edge of a wooden staging, which was positioned around a boat while it was being refurbished.
The employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, was working for boat builders Clare Lallow Ltd when the incident took place at the firm’s yard in Cowes. The company has an international reputation and built a number of yachts for former prime minister Edward Heath, including the Morning Cloud.
On 4 August 2011, the worker was attempting to pick up a specialist sanding and polishing machine, known as a linisher, from the wooden staging, when he fell over the edge and landed on the ground 1.4 metres below. He received treatment for a broken arm and was unable to return to work for more than five months owing to his injuries.
The HSE visited the yard and found that the company had added rope guardrails around the staging, but these were not sufficient to prevent further falls. The company was issued with a Prohibition Notice on 23 August 2011, which required the work to stop until suitable measures were put in place to prevent falls from height.
HSE inspector Craig Varian explained that the incident could have been avoided if suitable edge protection had been installed. He said: “The company's failings left an individual injured for a significant period of time. Yet the incident was avoidable. Clare Lallow Ltd should have recognised the risks and installed simple, low-cost solutions to prevent the employees falling from this staging around the boat. You don't have to fall from a great height to lose your life. It's wrong that workers like the one in this case suffer preventable injuries because simple steps have not been taken to manage obvious workplace risks. It is vital all work is properly planned, assessed and then implemented.”
Clare Lallow appeared at Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court on 7 June and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £1000 and ordered to pay the same amount in costs. In mitigation, the company said it had no previous convictions and it complied with the Prohibition Notice by constructing a scaffold and guardrail system around the boat. The firm also said it deeply regretted the incident and the injuries suffered by its employee, who had worked for the company for more than 16 years.