Employee falls from tower scaffold while removing window frames
30/7/20 - We were distressed to hear about the serious injuries suffered by two workers after one fell from a tower scaffold while removing large window frames from a school hall in Tameside. The first employee fell from the tower, through a window frame, knocking the other worker off a stepladder. Both employees were airlifted to hospital as one had lost consciousness and the other had broken ribs and a punctured lung. The accident, which happened in November 2016, was the subject of a recent prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Liverpool Crown Court. The investigation found that the tower scaffold had not been assembled correctly and the stepladder was unsuitable for the task. Alarmingly, the work was being carried out without proper training, qualifications, supervision and planning. Crystal Architectural Aluminium Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4, 5 and 6 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. They were fined £17,000 and ordered to pay costs of £32,106.80. News of this outcome came as the HSE revealed that falls from height are still the leading cause of workplace fatalities in Great Britain. On top of that, there are thousands of non-fatal falls every year, often with life-changing consequences, and this accident is sadly just one example. It's a stark reminder of just how badly things can go wrong when the safety of workers is not the top priority. As the HSE inspector Seve Gomez-Aspron pointed out, “This incident could have been avoided with proper planning, supervision, and training, and the use of correct equipment.” The risks associated with working at height are well known, so there’s simply no excuse for such serious failures. We support the HSE taking enforcement action against companies who don’t meet the required standard and hope it motivates others to put their workers’ safety first, before it’s too late. PASMA supports the No Falls Foundation, a charity dedicated to preventing falls from height and supporting victims and their families after a fall. If you have been affected by the consequences of a fall, please consider contacting them.