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'Protect employees who work at height' - HSE

17 November 2009 Email this article

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has delivered a stark warning to companies who fail to protect employees working at height saying 'they will be held to account'.

The warning follows a hearing last week at Nottingham Magistrates' Court when Pontiac Coil Europe Ltd, of Queens Drive Industrial Estate in Nottingham pleaded guilty to and was found guilty of a breach of Regulation 6(3) and 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company failed to take sufficient measures to prevent employees falling from a height, after a member of staff fell from a mezzanine floor.

Pontiac Coil Europe Ltd was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £4,867 costs for the incident on 25 June 2008, when employee, Norman Leonard Cole of Carlton, Nottingham fractured his skull and shoulder and sustained a number of fractured ribs when he fell 2.4 metres from a mezzanine floor. Cole, who was 62 at the time, was dismantling the mezzanine floor surface at the company's premises on Longwall Avenue, Queens Drive Industrial estate in Nottingham.

The company failed to ensure that the work was properly planned, or to take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent Mr Cole falling.

HSE Inspector Stuart Pilkington said: "Falling from height continues to be one of the most common causes of fatal injury to workers, accounting for 58 fatalities in 2007/08 in Great Britain. On this occasion Cole sustained a fractured skull as well as other injuries, and was lucky to escape death."

"More than half (59%) of deaths reported in the construction industry in 2007/08 were as a result of working at height. These incidents are easily preventable and guidance on working at height is available on the HSE website."

Information and guidance on working at height can be found on the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/index.htm