Southport firm fined by the HSE

As an employee for a company, particularly one which requires potential hazards, it is important to feel that you are as secure as possible and that every attempt is being made to safeguard your security from safety equipment to training.

Legislation has been developing significantly over the last decade to attempt to protect employees by making employer obligation to provide training and appropriate safety equipment mandatory. Unfortunately, there are many instances each year where failings in such employee care are flagrantly ignored and every day there is news of a new accident that could have been avoided.

On the 26th March 2015 the Health and Safety Executive successfully prosecuted and fined a Southport company after a 60-year-old employee was badly injured falling from a ladder. The employee of Instruments and Gauges Electronics Ltd suffered a fractured skull and back, and sustained several broken ribs after falling 4 metres from a bungalow roof.

The company, specialists in electrical testing, failed to give their employee sufficient safety equipment or appropriate safety training. It is thought that the owner of the company is a landlord and it is believed that this ‘quick fix’ on a property could have resulted in the injury.

The incident occurred on the 6th June when the employee attended a job on Fylde Rd, Southport. In order to reach the roof, he placed his ladder on the roof of a conservatory to get to the flat roof of the bungalow, and the ladder gave way.

The Sefton Magistrates Court in Bootle heard that the injuries sustained were so severe that the man had spent a week on a high dependency ward, and was unable to return to work for a further 19 weeks.

The work, perhaps unsurprisingly based on the company’s trade in electronic testing, was unsupervised and unplanned and the company even failed to report the accident under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations of 2013.

This coupled with their breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 led to a fine of £6,000 and prosecution costs of £961. HSE Inspector at the hearing Jackie Western said that falls are the biggest cause of death and serious injury amongst the construction industry and that Instruments Gauges and Electronics should have hired a specialist roofing company, or at the very least appropriate training and equipment for their employee.

The Health and Safety Executive have made recommendations for all aspects of the personal safety at work, and many legislative powers to support them. There are also countless ways in which the employer can protect the employee through proper training. From simple one-day courses such as manual handling or ladder safety to more complex modular certification with IPAF training and PASMA training for moving platform safety and proficiency and mobile access platforms respectively. These qualifications are not only regulated and recognised by the legislative bodies, but also are requirements for certain companies, particularly relating to the construction and site safety.