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Scaffolding firm in court after worker injured in fall

A scaffolding firm has been fined after a painter and decorator was injured when he fell through an unprotected ladder opening on scaffolding at a block of flats in Hemel Hempstead.

The 48-year-old suffered a fractured arm and dislocated shoulder as a result of the incident.

The court heard that whilst erecting the scaffolding, the firm’s workers were asked by painting and maintenance sub-contractors to significantly increase the height of the first tier of scaffolding. This alteration required a new layout design; however the scaffolders continued to erect the scaffolding before these designs had been received.

Mr Currie was working on the third level of the scaffolding when he lost his footing and stumbled through an unprotected ladder opening. His outstretched arm fell between ladder rungs and the momentum of his fall caused him to fall to the second level below, dislocating his shoulder and fracturing his arm.

HSE found there were no preventative measures, such as protected ladder traps or guardrails, to prevent a fall from one level to another, and that access ladders between each level were too short and did not provide suitable handholds.

The firm was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,737 costs after pleading guilty to a single breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Rauf Ahmed explained that the incident was entirely preventable.

“This case highlights the importance of scaffolding companies arranging ladder access openings between scaffold levels in such a way to prevent falls, and provide ladders of a sufficient length to offer suitable handholds above landing places,” he said.

“Falls from height continue to be the largest cause of fatalities and serious injury,” he added.

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