Life-threatening injuries after cherry picker incident


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wishes to remind everyone of the need to take safety seriously when planning work at height. This warning comes after a York construction contractor and one of its employees were prosecuted after 2 men fell from a mobile elevated working platform (MEWP) eg "cherry picker".

On 2 August 2007, 2 men fell from the elevating work platform which they were using to access the 1st floor of a house in order to touch up paintwork when a passing lorry struck the access platform.

Both men suffered life-threatening injuries, with one of them being in a coma for 1 month. Both have now only partially recovered from their injuries.

York Crown Court fined their employers £12,000 plus costs of £2,5000 for breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 due to its failure to ensure that the particular risks involved in the work at this location were adequately assessed and controlled.

One of the men was also fined £2,500 plus costs of £3,500 for breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 as he failed to take reasonable care whilst setting up and operating the platform.

The cherry picker had been sited at the side of the road without any road warning signs to indicate that the working platform was projecting onto the carriageway.

The HSE Inspector Paul Robinson said: "Work at height must always be properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner and this is particularly important in a roadside situation where other vehicles and members of the public are involved. The HSE will not hesitate to prosecute in situations where people's lives are put at risk in this way."

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