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Failure to inspect MEWP results in workers broken neck

Failure to inspect MEWP results in workers broken neck

5 January 2012 Email this article

An East Midlands sign company has been fined after a worker fractured his neck falling from a van mounted platform.

The 44-year-old City and County Signs Ltd employee from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, was using the lift to remove a sign from a commercial property in Hucknall High Street when the incident happened.

Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court heard the worker was standing in the basket but as it elevated one of two levelling rods that keep the basket horizontal at all times broke, causing the basket to tip backwards.

The man, who does not want to be named, fell around 1.5 metres and suffered minor injuries in addition to breaking his neck. He was in hospital for six days following the 5 November 2009 incident and when discharged was initially unable to drive or undertake routine tasks. He was off work for nine weeks.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found City and County Signs Ltd had failed to ensure the vehicle-mounted lift was thoroughly examined in the six months before the incident, as required by law.

City and County Signs Ltd, of Market Place, Bingham, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(3)(a)(i) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998. The company was today fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8,032.

After the hearing HSE inspector Lorna Sherlock said:

"There is a legal requirement for all employers who use lifting equipment to ensure they have it thoroughly examined by a competent person every six months. Had the company done this the cracks in the levelling rod would have been identified and repaired and this incident avoided. Instead, a worker suffered some nasty injuries which could have easily been much worse."