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ALMO fined £10k after plumber injured

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning employers to ensure they have safe systems for working at height in place after a plumber was seriously injured in a fall from a loft while changing a water tank in council-owned property.


The warning was issued after Homes for Haringey, an arms-length management organisation (ALMO), was found guilty of breaching section 2(1) of the Heath and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The ALMO was fined £10,000 with costs of £3,562 at City of London Magistrates' Court last week.


In January last year, a trainee plumber was working with a colleague in a loft space in a council-owned residential flat when he fell through a skylight, which was covered by loft insulation material, falling approximately 10 feet onto stairs below.


He sustained injuries to his upper spine and was unable to work for the next 12 months. At the time of the incident, he was employed by Haringey Council, working for Homes for Haringey.


HSE inspector John Crookes said: 'It is totally unacceptable that so many lives of employees who work from height continue to be put at risk. Falls from height remain the most common kind of accident causing fatal injuries. Last year, 45 people died and more than 3000 suffered a serious injury after a fall from height in the workplace.


'All companies must assess the risks from work that they are undertaking at height, ensuring that the work is planned properly and appropriate measures are taken so that workers are not exposed to risk of falling'


'ALMOs were set up to bring improved business practices into managing local authority housing stock. This includes effectively managing the health and safety of their employees.

'This unfortunate accident could have been prevented had a simple safe system of work been followed, such as using secured boards to create a stable working platform, and crawling boards where access across the unboarded parts of the loft was required.'