A tower crane hire company has been fined after a work feel two metres, when the podium steps he was working on toppled over and left the worker with life changing injuries.
The incident occurred when the employee had been working on welding metal components whilst working at height. The podium steps he had been using had been borrowed from another factory. During the welding, the steps toppled over causing the worker to fall over two metres, fracturing two of his vertebrae in the fall.
The subsequent HSE investigation found that London Tower Crane Hire and Sales had failed to follow any internal procedures nor did it carry out any risk assessments, it also failed to determine a safe system system of work. The investigation also found the podium steps had been modified with the incorrect feet being added onto it, this was contrary to the manufacturers' instructions. Stabiliser bars had also not been fitted and none of the workers had been trained how to use them correctly.
When taken to trial, the company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (3) of the Work and Height Regulations 2005. The company has been fined £54,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,544.00.
Speaking after the trial, HSE investigator Parmjit Gahir, said "“The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to select and correctly assemble access equipment, along with implementing the necessary training, instruction and supervision to prevent such falls occurring. Podium steps are a recognised safe solution for working at height however, if they are used incorrectly, they can become a danger themselves.”