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1 October 2012 Email this article

The catastrophic impact that poor planning and using the wrong equipment can have on the lives of workers has been demonstrated yet again in the case of Merseyside firm, CME Ceilings, who have just been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The Merseyside firm was sentenced after a worker received life-threatening injuries when he fell from scaffolding while working for the company.

In an accident which left him unable to return to work, the 43 year old man suffered a brain haemorrhage, fractured skull, a collapsed lung and broken collar bone, ribs, wrist and fingers in the incident at Croxteth Sports and Wellbeing Centre on 18th January 2011.

His employer, CME Ceilings Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the scaffolding tower the company provided for the job was unsafe.

The firm had been hired to install a suspended ceiling at the sports centre. They had originally intended to use a scissor lift to reach the ceiling, but had not arranged for this equipment to be delivered to the site, so at the last minute decided to use a scaffolding tower instead.

However, even the most basic safety measures were not taken. The court heard the brakes on the wheels of the scaffolding tower had not been applied to stop it moving and there was no edge protection, including boards and rails, around the platform to prevent employees falling off.

As a consequence, the man fell more than two metres to the concrete floor when the scaffold started to move as he was working.

The HSE investigation revealed that the scaffolding tower had been made up of parts from several different manufacturers, all of which were in a poor or damaged condition.

CME Ceilings Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of employees. They were fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Mark Baker commented:"One of CME Ceiling's employees has suffered severe physical and mental injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life.

"The scaffolding tower the company provided simply wasn't up to the job and his life was put in danger the minute he started to climb it.

"This case should act as a warning to firms not to cut corners and to make sure they use the right equipment for the job they're doing."