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Lack of Gin Wheel Results in Prosecution

4th October 2016

A King’s Lynn roofing company has been prosecuted after a worker fell seven metres from a scaffold access ladder while assisting with chimney repairs.

Kings Lynn Magistrates Court heard how the worker was subcontracted by J Webber Roofing Limited to assist with removing waste, mixing cement and bringing tools up to colleagues who were working on the chimney at a domestic property on Beech Avenue in Kings Lynn on 10 July 2015.

The company had erected a scaffold platform around the chimney with an access ladder attached to it. The worker climbed up the ladder carrying a cement filled bucket with a radio attached to it, on his shoulder. He lost his balance and fell approximately seven metres to the ground. The fall resulted in multiple fractures to both of the worker’s wrists and his lower left arm. He required surgery and steel plates and will never regain full use of his hands.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that J Webber failed to adequately plan work at height which involved manual handling of construction materials and waste up and down scaffold ladders.

J Webber Roofing Limited of 81 Gayton Road, Gaywood, Kings Lynn pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,582 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Kasia Urbaniak said: “The risk of falls from ladders is well known. Ladders are being frequently misused where often better specifically designed equipment is easily available.

“This incident which has left a worker without the full use of his hands could have been easily avoided if a ‘gin wheel’ had been installed on the scaffold platform to transport tools and other construction materials”.

The NASC’s guidance document SG9:15 – ‘Use, Inspection & Maintenance of Lifting Equipment’ provides guidance on the preferred methods of raising construction materials to the workface and is available for purchase from their website.