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Ridgeons fined for H&S breach

East Anglian independent builders merchant Ridgeons has been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive for breaches which caused an electrical contractor to break his back.
Mechanical fitter, David Minor fell more than five metres from a crane ladder after suffering an electric shock at Ridgeons’ timber engineering workshop in Sudbury.

He was employed by Graham Parish Engineering which had been subcontracted by Ridgeons to fix an overhead crane system. He was climbing a ladder to access the crane when he made contact with a live conductor. He fell 18ft and landed on the concrete floor, sustaining a fractured vertebra, a broken ankle, smashed heel, and burns to his hands.

The conductor Minor touched was the main power channel to the overhead crane. It carried three phase 415v electricity but was not marked and had not been isolated prior to work commencing.

Ridgeons admitted breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, failing to ensure work was carried out in such a manner as to not give rise to danger. The firm was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £4,344.70 in costs.

HSE Inspector Jonathan Elven said: “It is essential for companies to ensure that work undertaken on their behalf by subcontractors is properly managed and safe systems of work agreed prior to work commencing.

“Ridgeons have admitted that the task was handed over to Minor without discussion as to the way it was to be undertaken or any precautions that may be needed prior to it being started.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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