Scaffolding firm fined over health and safety failings

A scaffolding company has been heavily fined over a number of health and safety failings which emerged after a new employee sustained work-related injuries.

Acorn Scaffolding in Leeds found itself facing a legal battle after an employee who had been working at the company for less than three weeks fell some 13-feet through an asbestos roof – an incident which subsequently left him with a broken wrist, a sprained ankle and shoulder, and a broken nose.

After quickly being escorted to hospital, the unnamed worker had to have three wires inserted into his left wrist in order to hold it together. He later developed carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition which he has suffered from ever since.

An investigation of the site revealed that scaffolding had recently been changed without an adequate risk assessment being carried out beforehand, Hull Crown Court was told.

The Court also heard that the relatively new worker, described as “an untrained scaffolder” was not wearing a safety harness and should never have been instructed to go up on the roof by himself in the first place.

A spokesperson on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) added that a method statement completed shortly before the incident occurred made no mention of the ‘fragility’ of the roof.

Acorn Scaffolding pleaded guilty to various health and safety failings and apologised to the injured worker.

The company was ordered to pay a fine of £33,333 as well as costs of £14,638.

A spokesperson on behalf of the firm insisted that it had “an unblemished safety record in the 20 years it had been trading” aside from this one incident.

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Donna Martin

Donna Martin

Partner at Mackrell Turner Garrett
Donna Martin is a Partner in the Employment team at Mackrell Turner Garrett’s London office. She advises both employers and employees on a full range of contentious and non-contentious issues. As an employment law expert, Donna has significant experience in drafting employment contracts and handbooks, advising on grievance and disciplinary procedures and preparatory work prior to tribunals, including advising on the advantages and disadvantages of settling cases.