Wednesday 12 June 2013

Failure to organise non-standard work results in 6m fall

Dollcast of Tonypandy were fined £19,671 (inc. costs) after a contractor fell 6m during a lighting maintenance operation.
The circumstances were:
  • The contractor was using a scissor lift to replace high level lights in a fabrication shop.
  • There was no system of work in place for the contractor to carry out his task safely.
  • No attempt was made to isolate an overhead gantry crane which was used in that area.
  • Another worker was using the gantry crane to move steel around the shop when it struck the scissor lift.
  • The contractor fell to the factory floor below and suffered five broken ribs, lacerations to his elbow and injuries to his hips.

The HSE Inspector  said:
"This was a serious incident and, in a fall of six metres, this worker was lucky not to have lost his life. It was also needless and avoidable. The incident could have easily been prevented if a simple, suitable system of work had been used by Dollcast, including the secure isolation of the overhead crane from its power supply. This would have been a straightforward process of establishing a break in the power supply, normally by using a lockable isolator switch, and then securing the switch in the 'off' position using a padlock to prevent it being switched back on until the maintenance work had finished. Working at height is a significant risk activity across all industries. Last year more than 6,300 employees suffered major injuries following a fall. Working at height must always be properly planned."

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