Sudbury: Firm fined after worker breaks back in ladder fall

A COMPANY has been fined after a worker suffered an electric shock and broke his back at a west Suffolk timber engineering workshop.

Timber merchants Ridgeons Ltd, which operates across the East of England, has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident which happened in Sudbury on September 16, 2008.

Mechanical fitter David Minor, from Bury St Edmunds, suffered a fractured vertebra, a broken ankle, smashed heel, and burns to his hands when he fell 18ft from a crane ladder and landed on a concrete floor after suffering an electric shock.

The 63-year-old was employed by Graham Parish Engineering, which had been subcontracted by Cambridge-based Ridgeons, to fix an overhead crane system at its timber engineering workshop at the Chilton Industrial Estate in Sudbury.

He was climbing a ladder to access the crane when he made contact with a live conductor. The conductor Mr 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.

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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 at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

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.

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

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