A construction company has been ordered to pay a £60,000 fine directly to an employee after he fell through a skylight roof while working at height and suffered life changing injuries.
The court heard that the victim was working on the roof of a London industrial estate unit when he fell through a skylight, four and half metres on to a concrete floor. He fractured his back and as a result is now partially deaf, has damage to his brain, is paralysed from the waist down and is psychologically traumatised. As a result he will need personal care for the rest of his life and will never work again.
The Judge stated that the accident was highly foreseeable and said that the company fell short of the required standards for managing risks. He described the case as 'exceptional'' because the contractor was in dispute with its insurance company and the victim is unlikely to receive compensation for his injuries.
The HSE Inspector involved with the case commented that “This tragedy should not have happened. Nobody should be on a roof without proper planning. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent a fall.”
Before any form of work at height is undertaken, it must be properly planned to make sure that the correct equipment is being used and that those carrying out the work have sufficient instruction, training and supervision to enable them to work without putting themselves and other people at risk.