A Merseyside firm has been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) for failings that led to an employee suffering a brain injury following a fall from height.

The 43-year-old man from West Derby suffered the life-changing injury on the 18 July 2011 whilst working for CME Ceilings based in Broad Green, Merseyside.

CME Ceilings had been hired to install a suspended ceiling at a local sports centre. The firm used a scaffolding tower to reach the ceiling, but there was no edge protection around the platform to prevent workers falling and the brakes on the wheels of the tower were not applied. The tower started to move as the employee walked across it, he then fell more than two metres onto a concrete floor.

The worker suffered a brain haemorrhage, fractured skull and collapsed lung along with a broken collar bone, ribs, wrist and fingers. He spent two weeks in intensive care following the accident and has been left with a long term personality changing brain injury. The man has been unable to return to work as a result of his injuries.

Employer provided unsafe equipment

The HSE told Liverpool Magistrates court that the scaffolding tower had been made up of old or damaged parts from different manufacturers. CME Ceilings pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for providing unsafe equipment. The firm was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay an additional £5,000 in costs.

HSE Inspector Mark Baker said: “One of CME Ceiling's employees has suffered severe physical and mental injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life.

“The scaffolding tower the company provided simply wasn't up to the job and his life was put in danger the minute he started to climb it.

“This case should act as a warning to firms not to cut corners and to make sure they use the right equipment for the job they're doing.”

Matthew Tollitt, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Team said: “Working at height is well known as one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries in the workplace. Employers have no excuse not to carry out risk assessments and should know the importance of providing proper and safe equipment for those who work at height. CME Ceilings provided a scaffolding tower that was a Heath Robinson affair consisting of apparently cannibalised pieces of equipment. Incredibly they then failed to ensure the brakes were applied.”