26 September 2013
A Leicestershire building company has been fined after two workers fell four metres from an insecure platform balanced on the raised forks of a telehandler.
Leicester Magistrates’ Court today (26 Sept) heard that Caplin Homes Ltd was building a new house on land in Stretton Road, Great Glen, when the incident happened on 25 April 2013.
Managing director Stuart Caplin, his son and self-employed builder Jason Caplin and a self-employed joiner, Robert Coleman, arrived on site and decided to take some photographs of the partially completed project to record progress.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that in order to get a high level shot an enclosed work platform was placed on the forks of a telehandler and raised with Jason Caplin and Robert Coleman inside. However, it was not secured to the forks and as the telehandler extended the platform slid off sending the two workers crashing to the ground.
Both men were airlifted to hospital. Jason Caplin, 32, of Great Glen was diagnosed with a fractured heel and spine compression requiring pins. He was off work for three months.
Robert Coleman, 52, of Beaumont Leys, Leicester, suffered a broken collarbone, collapsed lung, fractured pelvis, lacerated spleen and three broken ribs and has not yet been able to return to work.
Caplin Homes Ltd, of Stretton Road, Great Glen, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £460.
Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Tony Mitchell said:
"This was an ill-conceived and totally preventable incident that resulted in two people suffering significant injuries which could easily have been fatal.
"Work platforms on telehandlers are not suitable for construction work unless special control systems are in place. More importantly they must be securely attached."
Further information on working safely at height can be found online at www.hse.gov.uk/falls
Notes to editors
- The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
- Regulation 5(1) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 states: Every employer shall ensure that lifting equipment for lifting persons is such as to prevent a person using it being crushed, trapped or struck or falling from the carrier; is such as to prevent so far as is reasonably practicable a person using it, while carrying out activities from the carrier, being crushed, trapped or struck or falling from the carrier; has suitable devices to prevent the risk of a carrier falling; is such that a person trapped in any carrier is not thereby exposed to danger and can be freed.