Company fined after serious injury from scissor lift fall

By Maria Hadlow10 May 2011

An electrical company based in Hertfordshire, UK has been fined £120,000 after a man was left paralysed when he was knocked from a scissor lift.

HSE's (Health and Safety Executive) Inspector Denis Bodger said "The fine reflects the seriousness of the omissions by this company. Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil Ltd employed people to do highly hazardous work and yet failed to take the appropriate steps to ensure their safety."

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) prosecuted Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil Ltd after the incident happened on the 25 January 2007 at Manor Royal Industrial Park in Crawley.

Lewes Crown Court heard the company had been subcontracted to design and build the mechanical and electrical systems in a number of new buildings.

A cable installer, who does not want to be named, was working in a scissor lift with two colleagues tying cables into overhead trays when they collapsed, knocking the man out of the lift and causing him to fall 8m to the floor below.

The man, from Hartlepool, suffered severe spinal injuries and is now paralysed from the waist down.

HSE told the court that Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil Ltd had failed to ensure the safety of its employees while carrying out the installation of the cable tray systems.

Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil Ltd admitted breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined a total of £120,000 with full costs of £81,927.

After the hearing, Mr Bodger said, "This tragic incident would have been avoided if the company had ensured all parts of the cable tray system had been properly designed and installed, including how it was attached to the building.

"During installation, when components were failing or showing signs of failure, Skanska took no action.

"When construction work is subcontracted, whether it's design or installation work, it is essential companies have adequate systems in place to manage this effectively.

"It is essential that employers consider all aspects of difficult and dangerous work; health and safety is not just a phrase, it is a considered approach to protecting people in the workplace."

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