HSE ceiling fall

£5k fine for brain injury fall

A Merseyside firm has been sentenced after a worker received life-threatening injuries when he fell from scaffolding at a Croxteth sports centre.

The 43-year-old man from West Derby, who asked not to be named, suffered a brain haemorrhage, fractured skull and collapsed lung in the incident at Croxteth Sports and Wellbeing Centre on 18 January 2011. His injuries included a broken collarbone, ribs, wrist and fingers.

The worker was in intensive care for two weeks and his brain injury has had a long-term impact on his personality. He has also been unable to return to work as a result of his injuries.

His employer, CME Ceilings, of Domville Road in Broad Green, was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive after an investigation found the scaffolding tower the company provided for the job was unsafe.

CME Ceilings pleaded guilty in Liverpool Magistrates' Court this week to breaching the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of employees. The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs.

The court heard the firm had been hired to install a suspended ceiling at the sports centre in Altcross Road, Croxteth but had made a last-minute change to its plan.

It had originally intended to use a scissor lift to reach the ceiling but did not arrange for the equipment to be delivered to the site, and so used a scaffolding tower instead.

The court heard the brakes on the wheels of the scaffolding tower had not been applied to stop it moving and there was no edge protection, including boards and rails, around the work platform to prevent employees falling off.

The man fell more than two metres to the concrete floor below when the tower started to move across the room as he was working.

The HSE investigation found the scaffolding tower had been made up of parts from several different manufacturers, all of which were in a poor or damaged condition.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Mark Baker said: "One of CME Ceiling's employees has suffered severe physical and mental injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life.

"The scaffolding tower the company provided simply wasn't up to the job and his life was put in danger the minute he started to climb it.

"This case should act as a warning to firms not to cut corners and to make sure they use the right equipment for the job they're doing."

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