A Dorset-based construction firm has been fined more than £100,000 after a worker was left paralysed from the shoulders down when he fell while working at height.
Chris Whannel, 33, was working on scaffolding on the development of a health centre in Kilsyth, Scotland, when he fell and broke his neck on May 22, 2014.
Mr Whannel, a father to an 11-year-old daughter, was moving scaffolding components when he stood on a section of decking that was unsupported.
He suffered severe damage to his spinal cord and was on a life support machine following the workplace incident.
He continues to receive care from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.
Speaking to the Ardrossan Herald after the accident, Mr Whannel’s mother Katrina said: “It was a life-changing accident. Chris is tetraplegic which means he is paralysed from the shoulders down.”
An avoidable accident
John Graham Construction Ltd had sub-contracted Structural Metal Decks Ltd (SMDL) to carry out the work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found SMDL had failed to properly secure the scaffolding and had not adequately controlled the site to restrict access.
Structural Metal Decks Limited pleaded guilty at Airdrie Sheriff Court to breaching Sections 3 (1) and 33 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £105,000.
HSE inspector Graeme McMinn said: “This is a tragic incident, which has had a devastating effect on a young man’s life.
“The accident could have been avoided if Structural Metal Decks Ltd had taken appropriate safety precautions and ensured the decking sheets were properly secured.”
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: March 21, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown