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Caravan firm in court after worker injured in fall

Date:
17 March 2014

A caravan firm has been fined after a maintenance engineer was injured in a fall from height while renovating a caravan at its premises in Silsoe, Bedfordshire.

The 30 year-old from Chingford, Essex, who does not want to be named, fell approximately one and a half metres when a makeshift platform collapsed during work to attach metalwork cladding to the side of a caravan.

The incident on 21 February 2012 was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which today (17 March) prosecuted Roma Caravans Limited for failing to provide a safer system of work.

Luton and South Bedfordshire Magistrates’ Court heard that the platform comprised a wooden plank placed across a metal frame.

It gave way when the worker attempted to step down to retrieve tools. The far end of the plank swung up and struck him in the groin. He then banged his head as he fell to the floor with the table collapsing around him.

The worker appeared to have escaped relatively unscathed with bruising, but he collapsed two days later and was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. He has since suffered from severe headaches and pains to his hip.

HSE established that the platform was inherently unsafe and was wholly unsuitable. The court was told the incident could have been prevented had proper equipment been provided for working safely at height.

Roma Caravans Limited of Amenbury Lane, Harpenden, Herts, was fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,527 costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Andrew McGill, said:

“This incident was entirely avoidable, and illustrates the need for duty holders to ensure work of this nature is carefully planned and managed at all times.

“By not providing suitable equipment, Roma Caravans put the safety of a worker at risk. Appropriate and stable work platforms should always be used for any work undertaken at height.”

More information about working safely at height can be found on the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/

Notes to Editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related 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
  2. Section 4(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided.”
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at press.hse.gov.uk

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