Fine for scaffolding company over apprentice injury

A scaffolding firm based in Halesowen has been more than £10,000 after an apprentice without the proper experience or health and safety training fell and broke his back.

The decision to prosecute Harris Scaffolding Limited was taken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was made following an incident in which the 18-year-old trainee suffered a serious fall. The apprentice, who had joined the firm just five weeks earlier, was working on scaffolding at a construction site in Worcestershire.

He was making alterations to the scaffolding when he fell around three and a half metres to the floor, fracturing two vertebrae and having to wear a back brace for three months.

An HSE investigation found that the work had not been properly planned and that the apprentice was permitted to work unsupervised in areas without guardrails or harnesses to stop him from falling. A colleague had been sent to help the trainee, but he himself had not had health and safety training or worked on scaffolding in years.

For breaching health and safety regulations and failing to prevent the accident, Harris Scaffolding Limited was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay more than £6,000 in costs at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court.