A teenage mental health patient fell off a hospital roof after climbing scaffolding that wasn’t properly fenced off, a court has been told.
Preston Magistrates’ Court heard the 17-year-old was left with a broken back and pelvis after falling more than six metres at the Royal Preston Hospital in Fulwood, Lancashire.
Scaffolding was not fenced off
Magistrates fined building company W Hughes and Son Ltd, of Collinson Street in Preston, £10,000 and ordered them to pay costs of £516 after it admitted breaching the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.
The court heard an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had established that the firm, which was replacing a flat roof on a single-storey part of the hospital, had failed to prevent access to its scaffolding tower by properly fencing it off.
Magistrates heard that on October 17, 2013, the girl who was a patient in the hospital’s mental health unit, had climbed the scaffolding and fallen from the roof.
Following her fall, the injured girl was in hospital for several weeks, the HSE told the court.
After the court case, HSE inspector Chris Smith said the firm had failed to ensure the scaffolding was properly fenced off, resulting in a vulnerable teenager being seriously injured.
Responsibility to ensure sites are safe
The inspector said while construction companies have a legal obligation to ensure that building sites are secure and properly signed, that had not happened in this case.
He added that firms should think carefully when planning building projects in public places like hospitals to ensure that the safety of members of the public isn’t put at risk.
Run by the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, the Royal Preston Hospital provides services to more than 1.5 million people across Lancashire and south Cumbria.
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Date Published: January 16, 2015
Author: David Brown