Falls from height can ruin the day of any business

Industry news roundup: week ended 11 Mar 2013:

For some reason it seems like the news has just been positively thick with stories about objects and even people falling from height and causing trouble lately.

For what it’s worth, falls from height are some of the most dangerous and damaging types of work accidents out there, and the personal injury claims that emerge from them can be crippling – to say  nothing of the types of fees that a firm can be slapped with by the Health & Safety Executive. In fact it doesn’t even have to be your own employee that falls in order to cause damage as a Portsmouth-based construction company learned recently after a bit of falling masonry landed square on a passer-by, injuring him quite badly.

The injured man, unidentified except for his age of twenty nine years, had simply been walking along the High Street in Camberley when the debris fell off the building after it came dislodged during refurbishment. He was struck on the shoulder and caused bruises and cuts and led to muscle spasms after the fact, and once the HSE caught wind of the incident they more or less had a field day, dragging Majestic Construction Ltd for causing the incident.

Majestic Construction was found to have neglected to re-position barriers on the ground to keep up with work occurring up near the roof of the building, which exposed pedestrians to the risk of falling debris. The firm ended up shouldering the economic burden of an £8,000 fine, not to mention the surety of a nice, big personal injury compensation claim – I know if I was the one who got struck in the shoulder by a bit of falling building, I would absolutely sue the pants off that construction firm!

Of course, it’s not all just injured bystanders sometimes. It’s unfortunate but sometimes a firm’s employee will come plummeting down through a collapsed roof or rickety scaffold, and when that happens it’s usually much more serious: in this case, the story of an engineer who fell from a food company’s cooling unit cracked his skull open in a spectacular fall is what I’m talking about.

The forty nine year old man, whose name has also been withheld from the public, had been working to investigate a data logger that had developed a fault at the Watton-based Cranswick Country Foods Ltd. The engineer had used a free standing ladder to gain access to the cooling unit, but he came tumbling down nearly three metres to the very hard ground below him after the ladder slipped as he was reaching to retrieve one of his tools, leading to a four day stay in hospital to help repair his skull fracture.

Worse yet was that the poor man is left with a permanent ringing in his right ear due to the fact that he damaged one of the tiny bones in his right ear. All told the man missed around a month of work and has yet to return to full working hours.

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