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Spinal injury for Crawley worker

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14th May 2014

A spinal injury has been suffered by a worker from Hartlepool, following an incident in the workplace which could give rise to a personal injury claim.

The accident took place when a cable installer - who wants to remain nameless - fell when using a scissor-lift, as he and two colleagues attempted to tie cables into overhead trays.

However, these fitments collapsed which knocked the worker out of the lift and caused him to fall eight metres to the floor below.

Following a successful prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Hertfordshire-based electrical company was fined £120,000.

Lewes Crown Court learned that Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil Ltd company had been subcontracted to design and build the mechanical and electrical systems in a number of new buildings.

And it was when carrying out these jobs that the incident took place at Manor Royal Industrial Park in Crawley, in January 2007.

So severe was the fall that the Hartlepool man, suffered severe spinal injuries and is now paralysed from the waist down.

The court heard evidence that outlined how the neglect of Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil Ltd led to the fall from height being allowed to take place, as the company didn’t address the safety of its employees as the installation of the cable tray systems was taking place.

Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil Ltd admitted letting the accident at work take place by breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

As well as the aforesaid fine, costs amounting to £81,927 must also be met by the firm.

HSE's Inspector Denis Bodger spoke after the hearing at Lewes Crown Court last week.

He says: "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."

Mr Bodger goes on to explain that the fine reflects the seriousness of the omissions by this company, as Skanska employed people to do highly dangerous work - and yet failed to take the proper steps that could have guaranteed their safety.

The Crawley man's injury is also an example of a fall from height - which is the most common cause of workplace fatality, although luckily in this case the man's life was spared.

Reported by Fiona Campbell