Company fined for inadequate guardrail
Health & Safety update 12/06/2012
A building company has been fined for installing a substandard
guardrail at one of its developments, which collapsed and saw a
worker sustain several serious injuries.
The incident took place at a home under construction at
Wintringham Way, Reading in August of last year. The main
contractor on the project, W Pocock and Sons Limited, had employed
the 63-year-old worker involved in the fall as a subcontractor.
He had been walking towards a light well on the first floor of
the house when he leaned on the wooden guardrail. The structure
gave way and the worker fell 2.6 metres to the floor bellow,
fracturing his hip, breaking five ribs, chipping a bone in his
spine and sustaining internal bleeding.
A subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive
found that the rail had been removed and replaced a number of times
in order to pass materials to the second floor and, in the process,
had seen its fixings deteriorate.
HSE inspector, James Powell, said that the guardrail was in no
stated to be able to prevent a person from falling.
"It simply wasn't up to the job, possibly as a result of the
rail being removed and replaced on more than one occasion, and the
subsequent deterioration this caused to the quality of the
fitting,” said Mr Powell.
"A thorough inspection of the guardrail after re-installation
would have identified any weakness and could have saved [the
worker] a great deal of trauma. It underlines the need to routinely
inspect fall protection equipment used for work at height.”
W Pocock and Sons was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,706 in
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