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Firm fined after worker seriously hurt in fall

A HVAC company has been fined for safety failings after an employee suffered serious injuries in a fall while repairing an extraction unit in Newcastle.

Mr Neil Pearson, 27, from Teesside, suffered fractures to his left hand and wrist and strained his right arm after falling nearly 3 m at a premises on the Newburn Industrial Estate on 1 November 2012.

HLA Services, of Boldon Court, Burford Way, Boldon, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after an investigation found that the workers had not been provided with the correct equipment for work at height.

Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Pearson was one of two men sent to the site to carry out the repairs.

After undergoing two operations, Mr Pearson wore a brace on his left arm for around four months and still struggles with movement and grip in his wrist and hand.

Mr Pearson, who is left-handed, can no longer work as a commercial catering servicing engineer and has had to retrain in a new occupation.

The HSE investigation found the workers had not been provided with a risk assessment or method statement for the work, and that the company failed to ensure the work at height was properly planned.

HLA Services was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £710.50 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Sal Brecken said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident resulting in serious injury.

“Work at height is inherently fraught with risk. It is therefore essential that it is properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure it is carried out safely, and that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent falls and protect workers.

“If the company had properly planned the work activity and provided suitable equipment, such as a tower scaffold, then it could have been carried out safely.

“Instead Mr Pearson suffered painful injuries which have had a massive impact on both his work and personal life.”

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