Body Fined After Volunteer Is Paralysed In Fall From Height

Specialist Calls For Lessons To Be Learnt From Incident

08.06.2011

The case of a woman left paralysed after a fall from height at the National Film and Television School highlights the need for all companies to put protective measures in place for staff, a workplace injury expert at Irwin Mitchell has warned.

A 34-year-old woman was working as a costume designer at the school in Beaconsfield Film Studios, Buckinghamshire when she fell from an unguarded platform edge on a mock staircase.

She was left with serious back injuries following the incident, including fractured vertebrae and permanent paralysis from the waist down.

The National Film and Television School were fined £17,500 and ordered to pay costs over the work accident, after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive revealed that a safe system to prevent falls was not in place.

Commenting on the case, David Urpeth, national head of workplace injuries at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This terrible accident at work highlights why employers and voluntary organisations cannot underestimate the importance of health and safety.

“Falls from height can and often do have a devastating impact on those involved and, as this incident shows, often have a life-changing effect on them and their families.

“What is most concerning about cases like this is that such falls can be prevented, through the use of proper health and safety measures and the provision of training and guidance.

“Lessons need to be learnt from the mistakes seen in this case and it is vital that companies recognise the importance of fall prevention measures and the positive impact they can have on workplaces.”