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  3. Essex firm fined over broken elbow

A security firm based in Essex has received a fine after a maintenance worker broke his elbow and fractured his ankle in a fall, from over three metres, through a ceiling.

The incident to the worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, happened as the engineer was trying to get access to an electrics box in a ceiling void at a customer site.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Security Door Systems Ltd (SDS) had not ensured the work was carried out safely, Basildon Magistrates’ Court was told.

The court also learned that the work, which the engineer had carried out numerous times before, was carried out by entering the void via a ladder held by a colleague before crawling across the timber joists to access the box. Having completed his work on a plywood board platform, it is understood the worker fell through the tiles attached to the timber joists on his way back.

The investigation found that there was no adequate provision made by SDS for working at height, such as a workable risk assessment or the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – proper working platforms or a harness, if appropriate, for example.

Having pleaded guilty to breaching regulations in place for working at height, the firm received a fine of £6,000, together with costs of £440.

The firm where the incident took place has now moved the electric control panel, which operates a roller shutter at the site, to the ground floor to ensure the ceiling does not have to be accessed for future maintenance.

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