A Manchester construction firm has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,518 in prosecution costs over safety failings after a joiner was badly injured when he fell through a ceiling.
The company had been hired to carry out loft conversions at two neighbouring properties. After installing new floor joists, the company wanted the partition walls to be fitted before the floorboards, so they could be easily lifted up in the future.
Two joiners were instructed to use boards on the site as temporary flooring but when they arrived they could only find three pieces of wet plywood outside, which were unusable. As a result they had to use some old loft boards to create temporary walkways and kept moving them to reach different areas of the loft. As they were installing the wooden frame for a partition wall, one of them slipped and his leg went between the floor joists and through the plasterboard ceiling up to his hip. He managed to pull himself up onto the joints but suffered severe internal bruising and continues to suffer from pins and needles to his left hand, caused by possible nerve damage.
Commenting on the case, the HSE said, “The company did not give its employees any information about health and safety, or carry out a proper assessment of the risks ahead of the work starting. As well as the missing floorboards, there was also a large opening for the new staircase without any markings or protective measures around it.
Our Loft Hatchway and Joist Safety Matting have been designed to overcome incidents such by enabling work in lofts to be carried out safely. The Loft Hatchway Safety Cover is intended to provide a strong, safe simple to use temporary cover for protection during work in domestic lofts while the Joist Safety Matting simply rolls out to cover the gaps between joists.