Work accident claim highlights construction sign issue

A recent work accident claim suffered by a building firm after an injury has highlighted an issue with the placement and visibility of construction warning signs.

A 15-year-old school pupil, who had been undertaking work experience, suffered injuries that could lead to a personal injury claim against the Sheffield-based builder, sources say. The student had been participating in a conversion project on a second-storey restaurant to transform it into a block of flats at the time of the incident.

While the student was carrying a bucket down a ladder, he slipped and fell to the floor 2.4 metres below.  He was rushed to hospital and later discharged after being treated for his injuries, according to court documents.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted the building firm, stating that while the students placed with the firm were permitted to conduct general labour, the possibility of them working at height was not a part of the placement assessment, as any falls from height could result in serious injuries and possible accident claims.

The firm was found guilty of being in breach of Health and Safety at Work regulations by the court and given a fine of £1,500.  The court also ordered the firm to remit £1,320 in costs.

In the wake of the hearing one HSE inspector stated that the employer failed to take into account working with younger people into its risk assessment, which could have included more effective placement of warning signs.

As construction sites can be inherently dangerous to younger people due to their inexperience, special consideration needs to be made in order to protect them from injuries, stated the inspector.

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