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Warning on falls after firm fined

The Health and Safety Executive is warning employers to manage risks surrounding potential falls after Oil & Gas Systems Ltd were fined £3,500 for breaching working at height regulations.

In February 2007, James Barker, an agency worker, was asked to go up on to a gas conditioning skid working platform to touch up some paintwork, prior to it being shipped out to a customer. He subsequently fell through an aperture and broke his pelvis in two places.

The subsequent HSE investigation identified that the manager at Oil & Gas Systems’ Gorseinon site had warned Mr Barker to take care, as there were holes in the floor created by the removal of some panels to allow for the skid to be picked up by a crane soon after.

The HSE said this meant the company were aware of the risk, but had not put in place any measures to mitigate this.

Oil & Gas Systems Ltd, whose registered office is in Ely in Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty at Swansea Magistrates' Court to a charge under The Work at Height Regulations 2005, and was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,457.80.

HSE Inspector Scott McKinnon said: 'Falls from height remain a major cause of workplace injuries, with falls from below or around head height contributing to around 80 per cent of all falls injuries. It is not necessary to fall far to land hard.

'Our investigation determined that the panels should not have been removed prior to asking Mr Barker to work on the platform, and that his injuries - caused by a fall of over two metres, were avoidable'