Wales

Contractor fined for 'catastrophic' fall at steel plant

Tata Steel's Port Talbot site Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Scaffolder Stephen Kift fell while working at the Port Talbot steel plant

A scaffolding firm has been fined £9,600 after an employee suffered "catastrophic, life-changing" injuries in a fall at a steel plant.

Stephen Kift fell 40ft (12m) on to a metal girder while carrying out refurbishment work at the Tata Steel site in Port Talbot in January 2014.

Swansea Crown Court heard Rowecord Total Access admitted failing to ensure the health and safety of its staff.

Tata Steel was cleared of breaching safety legislation. 

The court heard Mr Kift had been part of a team working about 70ft (21m) up a tower at the Morfa coke ovens, when he fell through an open hatch.

"His fall was broken by girders underneath and thankfully he did not fall all the way to the ground," said Judge Peter Heywood.

False signature

The hearing was told Mr Kift now relies on crutches to walk, is in constant pain and unable to sleep for more than four hours at a time.

A previous trial was halted at the end of last year when it emerged Mr Kift had been signed in at the morning's safety briefing, despite not being present.

"It is clear that a briefing took place, but it is clear that Mr Kift was not present and someone falsely signed on his behalf," said the judge.

Simon Morgan, defending Rowecord Total Access, said it had been an isolated incident of "low culpability".

He said since Mr Kift's fall the scaffolding company had lost its contract with Tata, and all its employees who were working that day had left for other companies. 

In addition to the fine, it was ordered to pay £100,000 in costs.

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