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Joiner falls and breaks nine ribs

15 February 2024

A COMPANY in Wales has been fined £60k after a joiner fell from height and suffered a kidney laceration and head trauma.

The man from Caernarfon had been working for Aspire Park and Leisure Homes Ltd, a manufacturer of leisure lodges and park homes, at its manufacturing facility in Porthmadog when he fell approximately 2.44 metres from a mobile working platform on 6 January 2022.

The 35-year-old had been working with a colleague on the platform when he fell from an unprotected edge as the platform’s end gates had been taped open. The two workers had been using the platform to spray insulating foam into the top of a lodge’s wall.

The injured worker broke nine ribs, his left forearm and also suffered a kidney laceration and head trauma. He was off work for four months following the incident.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found staff at Aspire Park and Leisure Homes had not received information, instruction or training in the use of the mobile working platforms. There was also insufficient supervision of workers to ensure that safety critical elements were not interfered with.

The issue of the end gates being taped open on the working platforms had been previously raised during an HSE inspection on 5 April 2018 and a Notification of Contravention letter was issued as a result.  Following the inspection, Aspire Park and Leisure Homes complied with HSE enforcement action which required the company to inspect the mobile working platform and ensure safety equipment was adequately maintained.

However, the HSE investigation into the incident in January 2022 found the company failed to maintain these measures.

HSE guidance can be found at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg150.htm and Construction Information Sheet 47 (rev1) (hse.gov.uk)

Aspire Park and Leisure Homes Ltd, of Stryd Lombard Street, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, Wales, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £60,000 and ordered to pay £8,093.60 in costs at Llandudno Magistrates’ Court on 18 December 2023.

HSE inspector Matthew Pendle said, “This incident could so easily have been avoided had the company simply ensured the control measures and safe working practices were followed. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

This HSE prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Sam Tiger and supported by HSE paralegal officer Rebecca Forman.