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Employer fined after electrician injures back in fall

22-05-2012

An apprentice electrician sustained serious back injuries after falling through a ceiling while working in the loft space of a Swindon youth centre.

Richard O'Connor's employer Roberts and Prowse (Swindon) Ltd. failed to carry out a specific risk assessment for the work, and failed to ensure adequate measures were put in place to reduce the risk of a fall.

The electrical and mechanical contractors appeared before Swindon Magistrates on 14 May 2012 in a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court heard that Mr O'Connor, from Nythe, was 18-years-old at the time of the incident on 3 February 2010. He was undertaking electrical installation work at The Platform Youth Centre, on Farringdon Road, when he stumbled from a narrow timber walkway and fell onto an exposed plasterboard ceiling that gave way under his weight.

He managed to grab hold of a timber joist, but after a few seconds this also gave way and he fell five-and-a-half metres onto the floor below.

The apprentice sustained three fractures to his vertebrae as well as cuts and bruising. His injuries meant he was unable to work for two months.

Roberts and Prouse (Swindon) Ltd., of Barnfield Crescent, Exeter pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in relation to the fall.  The company was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,156 in costs.

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