A partner in a building and roofing company has been fined after a worker fell nearly six metres through a fragile roof light and sustained multiple injuries.
The court heard that the worker was walking across the roof with a bucket for a colleague when he stepped on and fell through one of several Perspex roof lights set into the roof. The subsequent HSE investigation found that the work was supervised by someone who had no roofing or working at height qualifications and that no measures had been taken to carry out the task safely, such as placing boards with edge protection on the roof.
The partner in control of the work pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,517 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, the HSE Inspector commented that the worker "was lucky not to have lost his life in this incident. Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and it’s crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and that sufficient measures are put in place to protect staff from the risks. There is no excuse for employers failing to safeguard workers who have to work at height.”
Work on fragile surfaces is high risk which means that extra care should be taken. Products such as mesh walkways, rolling platforms and mobile valley walking frames have been designed to meet different requirements and provide a safe working system on fragile roofs. With products such as these now widely available, there really is no reason why workers' lives should be put at risk
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