AN engineering company has been fined £10,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries when he fell from a ladder onto a wooden floor.

Lee Rutherford, from Durham, fractured his leg and arm and shattered his elbow when he fell more than four metres as he installed audio-visual equipment at a school.

Almost a year later, the 23-year-old says he is still suffering pain in his arm and had to undergo extensive reconstructive surgery.

The accident happened at Filey Junior School, in North Yorkshire on June 21 last year.

His employer, Peterborough-based Hedley Solutions Ltd, today (Friday, June 20)) pleaded guilty to a breach of health and safety law during a hearing at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court.

The court was told that Mr Rutherford was using an extension ladder positioned against an internal wall of the school hall while he fed an IT cable through to the loft for a colleague.

But while at the top of the ladder, it slipped and Mr Rutherford fell around four-and-a-half metres to the floor.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the ladders had not been secured and there was no effective anti-slip device or any other measure in use to provide stability.

It was also found that the work had not been properly assessed or planned by Hedley Solutions Ltd.

The company, which also has offices on Belmont Industrial Estate in Durham, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,296 in costs after admitting a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

After the hearing, Mr Rutherford said: “I still get a lot of pain in my arm, there’s a lot of scarring from where I had to have surgery and skin grafts to rebuild my arm and I don’t have the same amount of movement as I used to.

“I have managed to go back to work, though I’m no longer with Hedley, but things are not the same as they were.

“No-one will ever understand how a fall from a ladder will affect the rest of their life. The constant pain and lack of movement I now have has affected me in so many ways. You need to stop and think before using an extension ladder – always think of yourself first.”

HSE Inspector Victoria Wise added: “The height of the ceiling in the hall at Filey Junior School was around five metres and the consequences of a fall from this height onto a wooden floor could have been fatal. As it was this young man suffered serious injuries from which he is still recovering.

“The real tragedy is that it could so easily have been avoided if Hedley Solutions Ltd had properly assessed and planned the work in advance."