A contractor has been fined for safety failings after an agency worker suffered serious arm injuries in a fall while working on a County Durham residential home.
David Hammel, 55, of Langley Park, has been left unable to resume his work as a joiner after sustaining the injuries after falling two and a half metres from a wall in July 2012.
Consett Magistrates’ Court heard that Hammel was an agency worker employed by Newcastle-based MGM Ltd on a new-build residential care home in Dipton, Stanley.
Hammel was part of a four-man gang installing roof trusses to form part of the new roof.
He had climbed onto and was standing on a wall plate on top of a block wall that formed the shell of a second-floor room waiting to receive and manoeuvre a roof truss into place.
But the roof truss slipped and knocked him off the wall plate. He fell into a corridor sustaining multiple fractures of his right arm and elbow.
Hammel has since had two operations to rebuild his elbow with the insertion of a titanium hinge.
He has been told by doctors he is unlikely to resume his job because he does not have full function of his arm as a result of the injuries and reconstructive surgery.
An HSE investigation found the firm’s planned system of work required a crane to be used to lift, hold and support the trusses while they were temporally fitted into place.
But on the day of the incident there was no crane on site and the gang of joiners were allowed to install the roof trusses manually instead.
The investigation concluded that if a crane had been used it is highly unlikely that the roof truss would have fallen or slipped.
MGM Ltd of Rhodes Street, Newcastle, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £6,184 in costs after pleading guilty to a safety breach.
After the hearing, HSE inspector John McGill, said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident resulting in serious injury..
“Work at height activities should only ever be undertaken by competent personnel with the right equipment, knowledge and experience.”
Speaking after the court case Hammel said: “I hope this prosecution will act as a reminder to building contractors of the responsibilities they have to individuals on site.
“I’m still here to tell the tale but it could have been a lot worse. This incident has ruined my career and I wouldn’t like to see it happen to anyone else.”
Lighthouse Comments: David is unable to return to work. He will require support for the rest his life. He will have to deal mentally with this issue too. What did this cost to the employer? Just over £10,000. Does this seem like justice? Lets hope the justice has been done by the company involved not allowing this to happen again.