A 58 year old decorator from Hull will not be able to practice the trade in which he has worked all his life, or any other type of construction-related work after a serious accident in the workplace last November. The business owner of Mawe Staff & Co Ltd. has been prosecuted due to health and safety breaches which led to the fall.
The worker and a colleague were asked to give a new coat of paint to seven storage tanks which were located at the Humber Grower's Beckside Nursery in East Yorkshire. While he was painting the top of the storage tanks and walking along the curved surface at the top of the tank, he slipped down the side and fell onto the concrete surface below. The worker, who has declined to be named, has suffered a broken left leg with multiple severe fractures and has broken his left heel. He had to use a wheelchair for several weeks and needed two operations to pin the bones back in his legs. As a result of this disaster, he still has to rely on crutches to get around and will need long term physiotherapy.
Investigation by the HSE
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) performed an investigation into the case, finding that there was no protection in place along the tops of the tanks where the workers were walking. If that protection had been in place along the side of the tank, this injury could have been prevented. Colin Mawe, the owner of Mawe Staff and Co, had not only provided the workers with inadequate access equipment but had also seen the employees working in an unsafe manner and had not taken the necessary steps to make sure that they were safe. He was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 and was fined a total of £2,500 and made to pay £1,800 in costs.
Simple health and safety procedures could have prevented this severe and life-changing injury from taking place and the height that the worker fell from could have very easily been life threatening. It was the responsibility of the employer to identify the risks of workers walking on the top of a curved tank and prevent this from happening.