A court has heard how a worker fractured his back after plummeting 4.5 metres at a theatre.
Mark Elkin was moving stage equipment at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre when the incident happened on 16 July 2014. The 33-year-old was unable to return to work for over two months as a result of his injuries.
Stafford Borough Council was fined after it admitted failing to identify significant risks when working at height.
Unsuitable risk assessment
Stafford Magistrates’ Court was told how Mr Elkin and another employee were using a tallescope – a telescopic aluminium manually operated work platform – to undertake high level work to stage curtains and projector.
He was in the caged working platform at the top of the tallescope, while his colleague manoeuvred it around the stage to relocate it when the apparatus overturned.
Mr Elkin fell 4.5 metres to the floor below. He fractured the right side of his sacrum and was unable to bear weight on his right leg for four weeks.
Stafford Borough Council of Civic Centre, Riverside, Stafford, pleaded guilty to breaching Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Regulation 3(1)(a) and Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 6(3). It was fined £20,000 with full costs of £1,922 and a victim surcharge of £120.
Movement of the tallescope with someone in the cage was prohibited due to safety risks, yet the Health and Safety Executive found this had happened on many occasions before the accident at work.
It said the incident should never have happened but a suitable risk assessment had not been carried out for the use of the tallescope at the theatre.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: June 30, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown