Scaffold Firm Fined After Worker Sustains Life Changing Injuries Fall Barn Roof

A scaffolding company in Hemel Hempstead has been fined after a worker suffered life-changing injuries when he fell from the roof of a barn.

On July 25, 2013, Hemel Hempstead Scaffolding Ltd arrived at Gaddesden Home Farm, Bridens Camp, on Red Lion Lane to prepare for the installation of solar panels on the barn’s roof.

Stewart Thomas, 31, was from Hemel Hempstead at the time of the incident.

The father-of-one was placing scaffold boards along the roof ridge when he fell through the fragile roof to the concrete floor eight metres below, according to St Albans Crown Court.

He sustained multiple head and neck injuries, including a brain stem injury, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a lacerated liver. Thomas is now unable to communicate, move, or feed himself and is in need of residential care.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the company had never provided a written method statement or risk assessment for this work. Critically, no fall protection measures were in place, and there was no appropriate supervision of inexperienced and trainee scaffolders on the site.

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Hemel Hempstead Scaffolding Limited, of Seymour Crescent, Hemel Hempstead, pleaded guilty to violating section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act, 1974, and was fined £110,000 plus costs of £22,596.

“I have had to move from my home and family in Hemel Hempstead to Northamptonshire to be near Stewart,” Stewart’s mother Karen Coffey said after the hearing. My other children find it difficult to see Stewart the way he is now, but I visit him every day with my mother. I’ve also taken a job nearby, which keeps me close to Stewart while also giving me something else to focus on.

“My granddaughters will miss out on so much of what they would have done and learned from Stewart.” Since my son Stewart’s accident, our lives have been drastically altered; hopefully, we will be able to move forward and make Stewart’s life the best it can be with his family close by.”

HSE inspector Stephen Manley stated following the hearing, “The company’s approach to health and safety was poor.” They failed to properly and safely plan the work for which they were hired, and they failed to supervise inexperienced young workers. Because the team would have been unfamiliar with the specific works, the lack of thorough supervision was regrettable.

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“As a result of their failures, a young father is unable to communicate or care for himself, and he will never be able to play with his young daughter.” There is a high risk of serious injury or death when working at heights if safe procedures are not put in place and adequate steps are not taken to ensure they are followed.”

Last Updated on December 30, 2021


Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

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