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You don't have to fall far to get hurt

You don't have to fall far to get hurt

25 June 2012 Email this article

A well known international boat builder based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, Clare Lallow Ltd, neglected safety precautions, which led to a worker falling from a wooden stage stage set up, around a boat that was being refurbished. The employee had been working on the vessel and tried to pick up a linisher, (specialist sanding/ polishing machine) - when he fell 1.4metres from the wooden stage and broke his arm.

On investigating the incident, the HSE brought a prosecution for safety failings under the Health and safety Act, as it was found that the staging had no measures in place to prevent falls. The HSE had seen that the company had added rope guard rails, but these had not been robust enough in order to prevent falls from the high staging, where the work was still being carried out.

Following this fall on 4h August 2011, the employee was off work for five months. A Prohibition Notice was served to the firm,  preventing any further work at height and Clare Lallow Ltd complied by constructing a scaffolding and guard rail system.

Clare Lallow Ltd, established in 1867 and registered at Pyle Street, Newport, is noted for building Morning Cloud, and subsequent yachts, for the-then Prime Minister Edward Heath.

It admitted a breach of Section 2(1) of the Act and was fined £1,000 with £1,000 in costs.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Craig Varian said:

"The company's failings left an individual injured for a significant period of time. Yet the incident was avoidable. Clare Lallow Ltd should have recognised the risks and installed simple, low-cost solutions to prevent the employees falling from this staging around the boat.

"You don't have to fall from a great height to lose your life. It's wrong that workers like the one in this case suffer preventable injuries because simple steps have not been taken to manage obvious workplace risks. It is vital all work is properly planned, assessed and then implemented.

"Work at height is inherently dangerous and if not managed properly can result in serious injury or even death. I hope this hearing serves as a further reminder of the serious risks posed when employees are carrying out jobs at height."

The most common kinds of accident involve slipping or tripping (40%) and falls from height (16%). HSE figures for 2010/11 show there were 38 deaths, 4,327 major injuries and a further 5,867 over-three-day injuries because of a fall from height. More information on preventing falls at work is available at www.hse.gov.uk/falls