WEST LOTHIAN COUNCIL FINED FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY BREACHES

West Lothian Council has been fined £10,000 for health and safety failings, which left a worker with severe injuries.

The local authority pleaded guilty to a single charge under the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at Livingston Sheriff Court.

The court heard on 9 July 2013 a painter for the council was painting external window frames in Bathgate. The ladder he was on slid away from the wall and he fell more than four metres. The painter suffered serious injuries to his left hip and leg and eight fractures to his knee.

The court was told an alloy tower or podium steps should have been used given the level of risk involved and the duration for which employees were expected to use the equipment.

The court also heard ladder mates, designed to stop the ladder slipping, and a limpet device to prevent lateral movement had not been supplied.

The council accepted it failed to properly plan and supervise the work. The council has since overhauled its system for working at height and has revised its system for working at height since the incident and developed a new working at height risk assessment template.

Laura Buchan, head of Crown Office’s health and safety division, said: "This incident could easily have been prevented had suitable and sufficient measures been put in place.

"Falls from height are one of the greatest single causes of death and serious injury to workers within the construction industry.

"Hopefully this prosecution and the sentence will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings."

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