Heating, ventilation and air conditioning company, HLA Services, has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and fined for safety failings after an employee suffered serious injuries in a fall whilst repairing an extraction unit in Newcastle.
Neil Pearson from Teesside suffered fractures to his left hand and wrist and strained his right arm after falling nearly three metres at premises on the Newburn Industrial Estate on 1 November 2012.
An investigation by the HSE found that workers had not been provided with the correct equipment for work at height.
Yesterday (22 October) Newcastle Magistrates' Court heard that Mr Pearson was one of two men sent to the site to carry out the repairs. He climbed up a ladder to unfasten the clips which attached a rain cover to the top of the extraction unit.
He stepped off the ladder and stood on the small lip at the front of the unit to reach the back clips. He remained standing on the lip while a colleague moved the ladder to the other side of the unit, but fell when the rain cover became unstable.
Following two operations, Mr Pearson, who is left-handed, wore a brace on his left arm for around four months and still struggles with movement and grip in his wrist and hand. As a result, he can no longer work as a commercial catering servicing engineer and has had to retrain in a new occupation.
The HSE investigation found the workers had not been provided with a risk assessment or method statement for the work, and that the company failed to ensure the work at height was properly planned.
HLA Services was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £710.50 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.