A college specialising in health and safety courses has been fined £20,000 after a worker fell from a ladder and broke his back in an accident at work.
Burnley College in Lancashire was punished by the Health and Safety Executive after 63-year-old engineering technician Marcantonio Albanese fell from the top rung of a stepladder while trying to reach an extraction system.
Back broken in several places
He fell and broke his breastbone and his back in several places and will now have to take painkillers for the rest of his life.
Preston Crown Court was told how the college had installed the extraction system at short notice after securing a contract to teach aerospace workers on a course that would involve carbon fibre sheets, which generate a lot of dust.
But the unit was fitted above a narrow gap between a cabinet and a workbench, so staff were unable to use the college’s mobile elevated platform to reach the filter and change it.
Instead, Mr Albanese stood at the top of a stepladder, with one foot on the top rung and the other on top of the filing cabinet.
He then lost his balance, slipped and fell.
College lapses ‘astonishing’
The court heard that before the incident, the worker’s manager had seen the filter being changed in a similar way but had not intervened.
Burnley College, of Princess Way, admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and, as well as the fine, was ordered to pay £7,610 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
After the case last week Rose Leese-Weller, a Health and Safety Executive inspector, said it was astonishing that the college, which employers specialist health and safety lecturers, overlooked the hazard.
If you were injured in a similar accident involving a slip, trip or fall, and you were not to blame, contact the Accident Advice Helpline to see if you could make a compensation claim.
The Accident Advice Helpline has 14 years’ experience in dealing with personal injury claims and could help you to secure a payment on a no win, no fee* basis.
Please call 0800 689 0500 for all the details you’ll need.
Date Published: October 29, 2014
Author: David Brown