Worker breaks 10 ribs and shoulder in scaffold tower fall

A worker who fell nearly 5m from a scaffold tower whose safety rail had not been fixed correctly, suffered 10 broken ribs, a fractured shoulder and a collapsed lung.

Manchester Magistrates Court heard how on 24 October 2019, an employee of TA Knox Shopfitters Ltd was working from a tower scaffold at the front of the Footasylum Store in the Trafford Centre, Manchester, when the scaffold moved, throwing him off balance. He fell backwards against the safety rail of the scaffold, which gave way and he fell 15 feet to the ground, sustaining his injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the safety rail had not been fixed in place correctly, causing it to give way when the employee fell against it. It also found that the tower scaffold had not been erected by somebody with the appropriate skills, knowledge and training. If the edge protection been suitable and sufficient and the tower constructed by somebody competent to erect tower scaffolds, the incident could have been prevented.

TA Knox Shopfitters Ltd of Hollingworth Road, Bredbury, Stockport, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,623.

HSE inspector Seve Gomez-Aspron said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and severe injuries in this country. The risks associated with work at height are well known. This incident could so easily have been avoided by ensuring that suitable and sufficient edge protection had been used and qualified people had been on site to erect a tower scaffold.”

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