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Firm in court after two workers severely injured in fall

A Lichfield-based firm carrying out work in Perth has been fined for serious safety failings after two workers fell over 4m when a vehicle spray booth they were constructing collapsed.

John Quinn (aged 35) and Joshua Perry (aged 21), both of Lichfield, were employed by Clive Thompson Installations, of Tamworth Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire, when on 22 January 2014 they accessed the partially completed roof of the spray booth in order to fit an extractor fan.

Mr Quinn sustained multiple fractures to both his heels that resulted in a four-week stay in hospital and several operations.

He had to use a wheelchair for several weeks after his release from hospital. He now uses crutches, cannot stand for long and continues to have severe pain in both feet.

In addition to the physical symptoms, Mr Quinn has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Perry suffered multiple fractures to his spine and ankle and extensive soft tissue damage to other parts of his body including nerve damage to his right leg and foot.

He has required ongoing surgery and bone grafts, and had to wear a full body spinal cast for 16 weeks. He has suffered financially and emotionally since the incident.

Perth Sheriff Court was told on 26 May that the company did not provide their employees with a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the work they were scheduled to carry out.

Having failed to visit the site before carrying out the work, it were unaware of any site specific hazards and could not therefore provide instruction on where to attach a fall protection harness.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that although Clive Thompson Installation was aware that the roofs of the booths were fragile and that fitting extractor fans required employees to cross the roof, no safe system of work was put in place.

It also failed to provide suitable training for its employees for working on fragile roofs.

Clive Thompson Installation was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Following the case, HSE inspector Norman Buchanan said: “This was an entirely avoidable incident. Falling from height is one of the most common reasons for injuries and fatalities at work.

“Clive Thompson Installations should have been aware of the risks and the precautions that needed to be taken before starting the work. The dangers of fragile roofs are well known and site-specific plans for where to secure safety harnesses should have been put in place.

“By failing to properly plan the work and provide sufficient training, two workers have suffered serious injuries which have had a profound effect on their lives.”

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