HSE competency reminder after fall

The HSE has reminded companies of the importance of checking the competency of workers before embarking on working at height, after a five metre fall left an employee seriously injured.

HSE inspector Steven Boyd warned that, “Companies commissioning roof work should make reasonable checks regarding the competency of a contractor to undertake work at height safely.”

Preston Magistrates’ Court heard an employee of T&J Leigh had been helping joinery contractor Harry Jackson to re-roof an old feed mill building when he fell five metres through a gap to the concrete floor below, sustaining head and arm injuries.

The employee luckily survived and the two companies were fined a total of £50k, and Harry Jackson was handed a 12-month suspended prison sentence.

Amongst other things, the Construction (Design and Management) (CDM) regulations – designed to reduce accidents during construction projects through improved health and safety – say that clients have a duty to assemble a team of competent professionals and ensure that each of their roles are clear.

The HSE defines competency as: “a combination of the experience, knowledge and appropriate qualifications that enables a worker to identify both the risks arising from a situation and the measures needed to deal with them.”

It also states that: “Individuals working at height need to be trained in the selected system of work and any particular work equipment chosen.”

The HSE investigation into the incident, which took place at Ghyll View Farm in Longton on 1 November 2016, found the roof work was not properly planned with no measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall through or from the roof.

Inspector Steven Boyd added: “This avoidable incident resulted in serious injuries, a fall from this distance could easily have been fatal. Roof work should always be properly planned with measures put in place to prevent a dangerous fall.”

In previous blogs we’ve talked about what defines competency and what you can do to ensure it. For more information or to enquire about one of our solutions, call us on 01293 529977 or use our online contact form.

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