Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Safety Officer in Video Is Suspended; Company Left Red-Faced as Worker's Ladder Fall Seen by Thousands

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Safety Officer in Video Is Suspended; Company Left Red-Faced as Worker's Ladder Fall Seen by Thousands

Article excerpt

Byline: JOANNE BUTCHER

A HEALTH and safety officer has been suspended after a video of him falling off a ladder became a YouTube hit. Morrison employee Paul Cavanagh is filmed climbing up a ladder outside a Gateshead house to demonstrate the company's new health and safety measures.

But both he and the company were left red-faced after the ladder slid sideways, leaving him sprawled on the ground.

Team Valley-based Morrison, who have contracts with social housing providers the Gateshead Housing Company, East Durham Homes and the Guinness Trust, say they have now suspended Mr Cavanagh for what they describe as "an isolated event".

The company, whose website claims that "health and safety is something of an obsession", say Mr Cavanagh is believed to have breached safety protocol by not anchoring the ladder to the wall.

The two-minute film, which has now been viewed by more than 22,000 people, shows Mr Cavanagh - who isn't wearing a hard hat - climbing a ladder leaning against the side of a two-storey house.

He is attached to a "new health and safety device" designed to stop him falling if he slips while climbing.

He demonstrates this to colleagues by deliberately allowing himself to fall and dangle from the ladder. But as he tries to climb back up - by now wearing a hard hat passed to him by a colleague - the ladder suddenly slides sideways and topples over, crashing over a garden fence.

Mr Cavanagh is left sprawled on the floor, but it is understood he was not seriously hurt in the fall.

At the end of the footage, a colleague is heard saying: "I think that's proved the system doesn't work."

A comment from Chris Morgan, director of health, safety, environment and quality for Morrison, was posted on the YouTube site. It reads: "We are dismayed by this isolated event, resulting from an individual deciding not to comply with our stringent H&S standards. …

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