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Unsafe ladder work led to serious burns for grandmother and grandson

A grandmother and her 21-month-old grandson were splashed and scalded by hot bitumen when a roofer’s ladder slipped because it wasn’t properly secured, a court has heard.
 
They both sustained serious burns requiring extensive hospital treatment, following the incident on 9 June this year in Reigate, Surrey.
 
The grandmother, who does not want to be identified, required skin grafts to her hands and one foot. She also received burns to her face and head. Her young grandson received burns to his chest, forehead, face, lips and under his right arm.
 
John Terrell, 50, from High Wycombe, was prosecuted on 25 November by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the incident and injuries could have been avoided had he taken more care.
 
Redhill Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Terrell, a self-employed roofer, had been contracted to felt a flat roof and was using bitumen that he melted at ground level before it was transported up a ladder.
 
He and a colleague had already climbed the ladder several times without incident, but it slipped just as the grandmother, with her grandson in her arms, approached the workers to ask if they wanted a cup of tea. The bucket fell spilling bitumen directly on top of them.
 
HSE’s investigation found that the ladder had not been secured to prevent a slip. It was also in a poor condition, with missing or badly worn rubber feet.

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