firm’s £15K safety fine

A RETFORD plasterer was in a coma for two months after he suffered serious head injuries in an accident at work.

Carl Major, 31, was carrying out refurbishment work at a store in Stockton, when he was knocked from his step ladder by a lighting pelmet which fell from a wall and struck him on the head, causing him to fall three metres onto a concrete floor.

The father-of-two was in a coma and now suffers from epilepsy and still requires medical treatment.

He has been unable to return to work since the accident.

“It may sound dramatic, but this has really changed my life,” said Mr Major.

“I now have epilepsy, so I can’t drive anymore and I’ve been told I may never be able to go back to work in my trade as a plasterer.”

“I’ve also lost my sense of smell so can’t enjoy cooking as I did. The whole thing has had a real impact on my family – the stress and the financial worries have made things worse.”

MacDonald Joinery & Construction Ltd, of Westthorpe Fields Road, Sheffield, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The HSE investigation revealed that prior to him beginning refurbishment work at the store, the construction company had failed to provide Mr Major with the necessary information and instruction to enable him to carry out his work safely.

Although the company had produced a risk assessment and a system of work for working at height in the store, neither were sufficient as they failed to look at how the lighting pelmet and the wall to which it was attached were constructed.

As a result of this, the company failed to identify the dangers its workers would face.

MacDonald Joinery & Construction Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6228.75 at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on 9th February.

After the case HSE principal inspector Rob Hirst said: “Mr Major has suffered long term injuries as a result of this serious incident, yet it could have easily been prevented if suitable and sufficient safety measures had been provided.”