Near-death prompts safety warning

Tricon Construction

19.01.2009

An incident in which two workmen fell down the outside of a lift shaft after scaffolding became unstable has prompted a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) warning.

Dundee-based Tricon Construction was fined £10,000 at Dundee Sheriff Court for safety breaches after the accident in which both men were injured.

They had been capping the lift shaft. One man fell 10 metres and the other two metres, and both narrowly avoided being hit by a falling concrete lintel weighing 110 kilos.

The court heard that the access scaffold had been incorrectly erected, and there was a gap of between 0.5 and 1.0 metres between the floor and the lift-shaft wall.

HSE inspector Murray Provan said that it was "a very serious incident" in which both men might have been killed, and that falls from height continue to be the number one cause of fatal incidents in the UK construction industry.

He said: "Competence... is the key to preventing such accidents, both in the management of site activities and in the individual worker possessing the skills and experience to complete the work properly and safely."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This was a terrible and frightening work accident.

"Falls from height remain a major cause of injury or death following an industrial accident.

"I would urge employers responsible for workers carrying out work at height to ensure they have safe systems in place to prevent any injury or death which is likely to follow an accident at work."