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Fine for Spark’s Mechanical Services Ltd

Recently, an Aberdeen company specialising in electrical and refrigeration services was fined a considerable sum of ten thousand pounds after one of their employees was seriously injured after he fell a total of 2.6 metres from a scaffolding tower.

The date of the accident was the 19th of October 2010, the victim of the accident, Charles Howie, fell from the scaffolding tower while working to remove two ceiling mounted refrigeration units from the cold store at the Iceberg Ltd fish processing factory in Fraser Burgh.

The accident was caused when one of the units fell and struck the tower as a result of at least four out of the eight bolts fracturing while the work was been carried out. It was also found, after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Investigation, that a forklift truck was not in place to support it.

The injuries sustained to Mr Howie were very severe as he suffered a collapsed lung, five fractured ribs and was physically unable to return to his normal work duties for a total of five months.

The HSE investigation also found that Mr Howie’s employer, Spark’s Mechanical Services Ltd, failed to ensure that suitable equipment had been on hand to support the refrigeration unit as it was been worked on. Furthermore, the court was also told that the guard rails, at the top of the scaffolding platform, were missing.

HSE Inspector Mr John Radcliffe then went on to say, after the hearing, that the company’s method of carrying out the type of work which Mr Howie was involved in was insufficient in meeting basic health and safety standards, and was in fact a practise which seemed to have evolved from the decisions of employees rather than with consideration to what was actually safe.

Mr Radcliffe continued to suggest that a safe environment may have included the use of a forklift truck in order to support the work been carried out before the work had started. He also condemned the decision to carry out the work while the guard rails were missing.

In hindsight, Mr Howie was fortunate to get away with even those horrific injuries as falls from height are actually the most common cause of fatal injuries in the work place. In the years 2009 to 2010 a total of thirty-eight people died in Britain due to falls from height at work.

The fine issued to Spark’s Mechanical Services Ltd, of Broadfold Road on the bridge of Don Industrial Estate, Aberdeen was confirmed after the company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act of 1974.