Firm fined after man paralysed

A FIRM has been fined £120,000 after admitting breaching health and safety regulations following an accident which left a Hartlepool man paralysed.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted electrical company Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil after an accident at a site in Crawley, West Sussex, in January 2007.

Lewes Crown Court heard the company had been subcontracted to design and build the mechanical and electrical systems in a number of new buildings.

A cable installer, a 27-year-old town man who has not been named by the HSE, was working in a scissor lift with two colleagues tying cables into overhead trays when they collapsed, knocking the victim out of the lift and causing him to fall around 24ft to the floor below.

He suffered severe spinal injuries and is now paralysed from the waist down.

HSE told the court that Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil, which operated the site at Manor Royal Industrial Park in Crawley, had failed to ensure the safety of its employees while carrying out the installation of the cable tray systems.

The Hertfordshire-based firm admitted breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974 and was fined a total of £120,000 with full costs of £81,927.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Denis Bodger said: “This tragic incident would have been avoided if the company had ensured all parts of the cable tray system had been properly designed and installed, including how it was attached to the building.

“During installation, when components were failing or showing signs of failure, Skanska took no action.

“When construction work is subcontracted, whether it’s design or installation work, it is essential companies have adequate systems in place to manage this effectively.

“The fine reflects the seriousness of the omissions by this company. Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil employed people to do highly hazardous work and yet failed to take the appropriate steps to ensure their safety.

“It is essential that employers consider all aspects of difficult and dangerous work; health and safety is not just a phrase, it is a considered approach to protecting people in the workplace.”