The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned firms to ensure the safety of those on work experience after a boy of 15 suffered injuries to his brain and back after a fall.

Contractor William Hargreaves, of Wigan, near Manchester, was this week fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £1,774 costs after pleading guilty to a criminal charge brought by the HSE.

The prosecution followed an accident involving work experience student John Ferguson, who suffered a brain haemorrhage and spinal injuries after falling three metres from scaffolding above a loading bay.

The accident happened on William Hargreaves’ Clearwater Village housing development in Darwen, Lancashire, in 2004.

Joanne Eccles, an HSE inspector, said: “Hargreaves Ltd completed risk assessments relating to the prevention of falls and a young persons risk assessment was carried out. However, the site manager was unaware of John’s presence on site so he was not inducted into health and safety procedures. “In this case the loading bay was protected by a single guard rail that was not secured. Loading bay gates should have been fitted.”

Scottish groundworks firm Consolidate has been fined £3,500 for health and safety breaches after a drilling accident in May last year in which an employee sustained multiple fractures to both arms.