Last updated: 23.11.11

Health and safety breaches could be minimised through e-learning

Companies undertaking hazardous construction work could benefit from the use of e-learning to ensure that health and safety practices are kept above board following reports of an accident in North Yorkshire.

A building firm and contractor based in the region received a substantial fine yesterday [November 21st] after being found guilty of a breach of codes and practices set out by the Health and Safety Executive.

Stephen Ramsey, trading as Up & Cover, pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £250 costs after a 36-year-old worker suffered debilitating damage to his heel and ankle which meant he could not work.

The employee, from Bedale, who has asked not to be named, was standing on a pallet fitted to a fork attachment of a tractor that was lifted to heights of around four and a half metres to allow the worker to measure and fit guttering to the building when the vehicle unexpectedly moved and caused him to fall to the ground.

Teesside Magistrates Court heard that the employee of the firm spent 15 days in hospital after the accident on August and that treatment is still ongoing.

After the case, Health and Safety Executive inspector Natalie Wright said: "Falls from height are known to be one of the largest causes of death and serious injury in both the construction and agriculture industries. This incident could and should have been avoided and demonstrates how important it is for work at height to be properly planned and safely undertaken."

Companies may like to implement further training in addition to schemes they already have in operation regarding health and safety in the workplace by opting for online learning facilities. E-learning systems could make access to information easier, as well as give workers a flexible system of using the material.

Ms Wright added that there are many well-known methods of fall prevention that would have been reasonably practicable to use in this situation, such as a mobile elevated working platform.

Regulation 11(1)(b) of the Provision and Use of Work Regulations 1998 states that every employer shall ensure that measures are taken to stop the movement of any dangerous part of machinery.