Tuesday 22 October 2013

HVAC company fined following fall from height

HLA Services Ltd., a heating, ventilation and air conditioning company, has been fined £10,710 (inc, costs) after an employee suffered serious injuries in a fall whilst repairing an extraction unit in Newcastle.
The circumstances were:
  • HLA Services Ltd., sent 2 men a site in Newcastle to carry out repairs. 
  • The workers had not been provided with the correct equipment for work at height.
  • In addition, the workers had not been provided with a risk assessment or method statement for the work. 
  • The company failed to ensure the work at height was properly planned.
  • One of the men, Neil Pearson, climbed up a ladder to unfasten the clips which attached a rain cover to the top of the extraction unit.
  • Mr Pearson stepped off the ladder and stood on the small lip at the front of the unit to reach the back clips. 
  • He remained standing on the lip while a colleague moved the ladder to the other side of the unit, but fell when the rain cover became unstable
  • He suffered fractures to his left hand and wrist, and strained his right arm after falling nearly three metres.

The HSE inspector  said:
“This was a wholly avoidable incident resulting in serious injury. Work at height is inherently fraught with risk. It is therefore essential that it is properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure it is carried out safely, and that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent falls and protect workers. If the company had properly planned the work activity and provided suitable equipment, such as a tower scaffold, then it could have been carried out safely. Instead Mr Pearson suffered painful injuries which have had a massive impact on both his work and personal life.

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