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Workman fined for injuries to child

26/09/11: A workman repairing a streetlight dropped part of it on a toddler’s head because he failed to erect safety barriers around the lamp.

One-year-old Taahyra Kasham needed stitches in a wound when the reflector from the light hit her as she was being pushed in her pram along a London street on January 20, 2010.

Joseph Parker was fined £2,250 at City of London Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and endangering members of the public. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,888.
The 25-year-old had been repairing the faulty lamp, in Gillett Square, Hackney, on behalf of his employer, Volker Highways Ltd, the court was told.

He detached the reflector at the top of the lamp post but it fell towards the ground and hit little Taahyra. Her mother escaped unhurt.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into the incident and its inspectors deemed that the accident was entirely preventable.

Mr Parker – who lived in Romford, Essex, at the time – should have erected temporary barriers around the lamp post to protect passers-by before carrying out the repair.

HSE inspector Zameer Bhunnoo said the incident was a serious one that needlessly injured a small child and caused considerable distress to her mother.

He said Volker Highways were blameless because they had trained Mr Parker properly to carry out repairs safely.

And he warned that individual employees who show a “reckless disregard” for health and safety would face criminal prosecution.