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Modified podium steps caused worker to fall 2m

A tower crane hire company has been fined after a worker fell two metres when the podium steps he was working on toppled over.

24 February 2020

The employee was welding metal components while working at height on a set of podium steps when the accident happened. The steps toppled over, causing the worker to fall about two metres to the floor and fracture two vertebrae.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment nor determine a safe system of work.

The investigation also found that the podium steps had been modified with the addition of incorrect feet, contrary to the manufacturers’ instructions. Stabiliser bars had not been fitted and workers were not trained in their correct use.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching reg 6 of the Work at Height Regulations and was fined £54,000 and ordered to pay costs £1,544 in costs.

A representative of the HSE said: the avoidable incident was caused by the failure of the company to adequately plan its work, and put basic safeguards in place.

“The case highlights the importance of following industry guidance in order to select and correctly assemble access equipment, along with implementing the necessary training, instruction and supervision to prevent such falls occurring,”

“Podium steps are a recognised safe solution for working at height however, if they are used incorrectly, they can become a danger themselves.”

If you require any further assistance or guidance on working at height activities and control measures to eliminate the risks, please get in touch.

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