27 February 2008

Air-conditioning firm fined £20,000 for safety breach

AN air-conditioning maintenance firm has been fined £20,000, after one of its ac engineers fell from a roof while carrying out repairs.
AC maintenance firm Team Q Maintenance based in Chesthunt, Hertfordshire was fined for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Regulations Act 1974.

The firm's client, Schawk UK, a Hackney-based packaging company on whose premises the repairs and subsequent accident took place, was also fined £20,000.

The firms were also ordered to pay costs of £3,098 at City of London Magistrates Court on February 25.

On July 15, 2005, Kantilal Mistry, an employee of Team Q Maintenance, fell 2.2 metres while carrying out ac repairs.

With no fixed means of access or edge protection to prevent falls, Mistry borrowed a step ladder from Schawk UK to get to the roof which the HSE said was not suitable nor safe for the task.

Mistry suffered serious head injuries which has left him unable to work and has ongoing health problems.

HSE Inspector Chris Tilley said, 'Both defendants were aware of the risks from working at height which had been clearly identified at least a month before the incident, but this information had not been supplied to Mr Mistry.

'No effort was made to ensure that Mr Mistry was supplied with safe access equipment or to prevent him from working. If this information had been acted upon Mr Mistry would not have been injured.

'Many incidents could be avoided if employers and contractors communicated effectively, identified safe ways of tackling a job, provided all necessary access equipment and contractors were properly supervised whilst on customers' sites.

'In this instance there a number of options available to ensure that safe access could have been achieved which would have greatly reduced the risk'.

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