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Two firms fined after South Shields worker injured

28-07-2012

Two firms have been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a pipe and fell from a stepladder.

The 37-year-old from South Shields was working for MB Air Systems Ltd. as a pipework installation engineer when the incident happened on 13 December 2010.

MB Air Systems Ltd. had been commissioned to carry out work at the premises of GT Precision Products Ltd., in Peterlee where the worker was installing new pipework to a compressed air distribution system.

On 26 July, Peterlee Magistrates Court heard that existing pipework requiring alteration was around three metres above floor level. The worker used a stepladder to access it, but lost his balance.

He caught hold of a lever valve which opened and released a jet of compressed air. The open pipe then swung round, hit him on the left side of his head and knocked him off the stepladder.

He sustained 14 hairline fractures to his skull, a fractured left eye socket, bruising to his brain and internal bruising to his lower back. He has since recovered and been able to return to work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that a risk assessment carried out by MB Air Systems Ltd. and provided to GT Precision Products Ltd., stated that a powered access platform such as a scissor lift would be used for this type of task.

However, no such platform was provided and the injured worker was left to make his own arrangements, obtaining the stepladder from GT Precision Products Ltd.

MB Air Systems Ltd., of Glasgow Road, Wishaw, Lanarkshire, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,196.50 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to ensure the risk assessment was correctly implemented.

GT Precision Products Ltd., of Traynor Way, Whitehouse Business Park, Peterlee, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,196.50 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

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