Contractor fined after worker’s farm fall

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A BEDALE building contractor has been fined after a worker was injured in a fall while working on a farm building.

The 36-year-old man from Bedale, who asked not to be named, smashed his left heel and fractured his right ankle and spent 15 days in hospital after falling 4.5 metres from a pallet fitted to a fork attachment on a tractor, a court heard.

He was employed by Bedale man Stephen Ramsey, trading as Up & Cover, who had been subcontracted by Waddington Buildings Limited, of Brompton on Swale, to carry out steel erection work and cladding on the building at Brierton North Farm, Billingham, near Stockton on Tees.

Both Mr Ramsey and Waddington Buildings Limited were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over the incident which happened on August 29, 2010.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court was told the worker was standing on the pallet and lifted to heights of around 4.5 metres to fit guttering to the building.

The court heard the tractor was being operated by Ramsey when it unexpectedly moved causing the worker to lose his balance and fall.

HSE’s investigation revealed Ramsey failed to carry out the work safely and Waddington Buildings Limited had failed to establish whether work carried out on their behalf would be done safely, and whether Ramsey was competent to do the work.

Ramsey, 31, of Emgate, Bedale, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £250 costs.

Waddington Buildings Limited, of Station Road, Brompton on Swale, pleaded guilty to one breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £900.

After the case, HSE inspector Natalie Wright said: “Falls from height are known to be one of the largest causes of death and serious injury in both the construction and agriculture industries. This incident could and should have been avoided and demonstrates how important it is for work at height to be properly planned and safely undertaken.”