Firm in Court after Worker Falls from Height

Caravan Firm in Court After Worker Fall 25861

A caravan manufacturer has been fined after a worker was seriously injured in a fall from height accident.

An unnamed 30-year-old from Chingford in Essex, who wishes to remain anonymous, fell from a makeshift platform while he was attaching metalwork cladding to the side of a caravan at the Roma Caravans site in Silsoe, Bedfordshire.

Prosecution

The accident led to the firm's prosecution, after Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors concluded that Roma Caravans did not have a safe system of work and left its staff members at serious risk of harm when they carried out day-to-day jobs.

Although a number of safeguard failings were identified by the HSE investigation, the crux of its case against Roma Caravans was the 30-year-old man's accident, which indicated a lack of oversight when it came to staff safety.

Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates' Court heard that the platform the man stood on comprised a wooden plank placed across a metal frame, something that falls well short of expected standards in the manufacturing sector.

Fall

As the worker attempted to step off the platform to retrieve his tools, the far end of the plank he was stood on swung up and struck him in the groin.

This sent him crashing towards the floor, with the makeshift scaffold collapsing around him.

After initial observations it was concluded the man had escaped unscathed and suffered only minor bruising, but two days later he collapsed and was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome.

This condition is a set of symptoms stemming from brain damage incurred during a head injury and can appear days, or even months, after the original accident took place. 

Headaches

The anonymous worker has, since his original injury, suffered from regular, severe headaches and pains to his hip.

For its failure to protect its personnel from harm, Roma Caravans, of Amenbury Lane, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,527 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE inspector Andrew McGill said, "This incident was entirely avoidable and illustrates the need for duty holders to ensure work of this nature is carefully planned and managed at all times.

"By not providing suitable equipment, Roma Caravans put the safety of a worker at risk. Appropriate and stable work platforms should always be used for any work undertaken at height."

Fall from Height

Fall from height accidents remain common in the private sector and the HSE has outlined that it wishes to see an improvement in the coming months, otherwise further crackdowns could be ordered against businesses that put their workers at risk.

Earlier this month it was revealed that a London-based scaffolding company was fined by the authority after a self-employed decorator suffered a fractured arm and dislocated shoulder by falling off a temporary structure.

Beacon Scaffolding, of Gloucester Avenue, was fined £5,000 and told to pay £1,737 after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

By Chris Stevenson