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Painter and decorator sentenced after worker paralysed by ladder fall

The boss of a painting and decorating firm in Northamptonshire has been ordered to carry out community service after one of his employees was paralysed after falling from height.

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On 7 August 2018, Ian Ramsay was hired to paint the exterior windows and soffit boards of a domestic property in Mawsley, Northamptonshire, including the painting of dormer windows within the roof.

One of his workers was installing a roof ladder on the pitched roof when he fell, resulting in permanent paralysed from the chest down.

Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court was told by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigators that the incident could have been prevented if the work at height hierarchy had been followed in the planning process and if appropriate equipment had been provided to employees, such as fully compliant scaffolding. The risk assessment should have identified that this work was not short duration and that the use of ladders was not appropriate, they said.

Ramsay admitted breaching s 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. He was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 160 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £2,124.

HSE inspector Rachel Grant said the painting of the soffits and windows was not short duration work and should have been done from appropriate work platforms. "Ladders were not the appropriate equipment,” she added.


Kellie is a freelance writer and former online editor of the Health and Safety at Work website.

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