Worker Injured As Stage Column Collapses

Man Suffers Fractured Leg And Damaged Vertebrae As Metal Column Falls

10.03.2014

A 54-year-old worker suffered fractures to his lower left leg and damaged vertebrae in his back after part of a stage that was being erected ahead of a popular event in East Yorkshire fell on him.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and East Riding Council found the man had been attempting to push a heavy metal column from a horizontal to vertical position ahead of the Classics in the Park festival at Brantingham Park in Elloughton.

He was one of four employees trying to lift the frame, while a forklift truck driver was also on hand to push the beam upwards.

On the third attempt, the truck slipped backwards and lost control of the column. It fell to the ground, hitting one of the men.
 
The injured worker required surgery following the accident on July 6th 2011.

Bosses at Tega (Hull) had pleaded guilty to safety breaches during an earlier hearing at a magistrates court, but the firm has since been dissolved.

As such, the Crown Court could not issue a punishment and made an official record of the fact the firm no longer existed.

HSE inspector David Bradley said the organisation had failed to protect its own employees or the team of labourers that had been hired from a third-party.
 
"The way the forklift truck was used to lift the column did not constitute a safe system of work. It later transpired the firm had bespoke equipment for lifting columns of this type available at its head office on the same day as the incident," he commented.

Mr Bradley added that the accident could have had more serious consequences, as lifting such heavy items in this manner can easily lead to fatalities.

The HSE has clear guidance for lifting work and advises against suspending heavy equipment in the air while people work underneath.

In cases where this is the only feasible option, companies must take extra precautions, devise a safe system of work and treat the area as a "danger zone". Access must also be restricted.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious back or spinal cord injury at work, our specialist serious injury claims team could help you to claim compensation. Visit our Spinal Injury Claims page or Accident at Work Claims page for more information.