25 September 2012

PASMA slams incompetent ceiling contractor following a serious fall from height incident

PASMA slams incompetent ceiling contractor following a serious fall from height incident

PASMA has responded to the news of another major and wholly preventable injury, due to a fall from height. The lead industry body noted that a number of basic safety precautions were not taken, and said that such accidents can only be prevented by ensuring that those working on towers and supervising them are trained and competent in their use.

The incident involved a 43 year-old West Derby man falling just two metres from a mobile tower in Liverpool, resulting in injuries including a brain haemorrhage and a fractured skull. Liverpool Magistrates Court learned that the damage to his brain has had a “long-term impact on his personality”, as well as leaving him in intensive care for a fortnight. In addition to this, he suffered a collapsed lung and broken bones, and has been unable to return to work.

The mobile tower’s wheels did not have its brakes engaged; causing it to move while work was being carried out on it. There were also no guardrails to prevent a fall, and the tower itself was made up of poor and damaged parts from different manufacturers.

PASMA’s Chairman, Roger Verallo, said: “As the lead industry body representing the safe and competent use of mobile access towers, PASMA was shocked and disappointed to find that equipment in such shoddy condition was being used. This is a life-changing injury which could have been avoided with the selection of proper equipment and proper training. Users and supervisors must be trained to notice such simple problems as the lack of edge protection, as well as compliance with current health and safety regulations, and PASMA training is the best way to ensure achieving this.”

He added: “The equipment itself was not even in a safe enough state to use. It was a lazy solution for reaching the ceiling with no consideration for the worker’s safety or the suitability of the equipment being used, highlighting the dangers of a firm focussed on doing the job the quick and easy way instead of to industry standards.”

The employer responsible, CME Ceilings Ltd, has now been prosecuted and charged £10,000 in fines and other costs, after pleading guilty of failing to ensure its employees’ safety, in breach of the Health and Safety at Work (etc.) Act - 1974. The Health & Safety Executive, which brought the prosecution, said: “The scaffolding tower the company provided simply wasn’t up to the job and [the worker’s] life was put in danger the minute he started to climb it.”

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