Company Fined After Worker Loses Leg

Scaffolding Firm Prosecuted Following Worker Fall

09.07.2014

A scaffolding firm has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after one of its staff suffered life-changing injuries in a fall.

Mills Scaffold Company was investigated by the HSE over the incident in Bridgend in June 2013, when one of its workers was dismantling a scaffold while standing on a lift that was just two boards wide. He lost his balance and fell four metres to the ground after a brace he had been uncoupling moved.

As a result, the injured man suffered multiple injuries, one of which was to his leg. This subsequently became infected and he had to have the limb amputated. He has had to undergo several operations and spent most of the last year in hospital.

It was only after an insurance claim was made in respect of the amputation, six months after the incident, that it was reported to the HSE.

The investigation found the worker had not been wearing a harness to prevent him falling and was not trained in how to erect or dismantle scaffolding safely. In addition to this, no guardrail was in place to break his fall.

In the hearing at Bridgend Magistrates court, Mills Scaffold Company pleaded guilty to one breach of the Work at Height regulations and a breach of the Reporting of Injuries Regulations, the latter offence concerning its failure to inform the HSE of the accident at the time. It was fined £15,000 with costs of £1,118.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Hayley Healey said: “This was a totally needless incident which could have been avoided if Mills Scaffold Company had ensured a safe system of work had been in place.

And it was their responsibility to make sure trained workers were used on the scaffolding. There is plenty of industry guidance available about safely dismantling scaffolding."

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 stipulate that work to erect or dismantle a scaffold should not just be carried out only by trained personnel, but should also be done under the instruction of a competent supervisor.

In addition to this, the law states that a guardrail should be in place wherever possible - and when it is not present, workers should wear harnesses.

Our serious injury claims team could help you claim compensation if you have suffered an injury at work that resulted in the amputation of a limb. Visit our Amputation Claims page or Accident at Work Claims page for more information.


Expert Opinion
This worker suffered life changing injuries as a result of his company’s failures in training and providing the appropriate protective equipment.

“A simple guardrail would have prevented the fall and the subsequent amputation he had to undergo.

“Working at heights comes with many risks and it is vital companies following HSE guidelines to protect the safety of employees and minimise the risks of serious injury occurring.”
Colin Ettinger, Partner