A local authority has been fined after an employee suffered serious injuries in an accident at work.
Douglas McGregor, a worker at Moray Council in Scotland, was working on the removal and replacement of a garage roof light at the authority’s depot in Balloch Road, Keith, when he lost his balance and fell.
The 52-year-old plummeted nearly three metres head first through the light and landed on the concrete floor below on 27 May 2011.
Mr McGregor broke his pelvis, collar bone and numerous ribs, as well as receiving a serious blow to the head. As a result, he had to use a wheelchair for eight weeks, then a walking frame and was unable to drive for three months.
Following the accident, he was off work until the end of November 2011, but has since made a reasonably full recovery.
Elgin Sheriff Court heard how he was one of two workers who had gained access to the roof using a ladder. They were standing on scaffolding batons placed onto cement sheets on either side of the roof light, but the one under Mr McGregor slipped, causing him to lose his balance.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the garage roof light was fragile and unable to safely support the weight of someone standing or walking on it.
Although the council had provided staff with training in relation to working at height, its main focus was on the use of mobile elevated work plants and basic scaffolding.
The HSA concluded that there was no information or supervision to ensure the type of work in question was carried out safely and it was effectively left to the workers’ own judgment to decide how the job was to be done.
Moray Council, of High Street, Elgin, Moray pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was subsequently fined a total of £4,000. Mr McGregor himself can look into pursuing personal injury claim.
Date Published: July 17, 2013
Author: David Brown