Company Fined Over Worker Plunge


A construction company has been fined £9,000 after a workman suffered serious injuries when he fell through a fragile roof.

Patrick Gillespie was working on a construction site in Murat Street, Waterloo, Sefton, on February 1 last year when he fell through an asbestos cement roof sheet and plummeted to the ground five metres below.

He suffered a cut to his head and bruising to his spine as a result of the accident.

Stoneswood Construction Ltd, of Stalybridge, Cheshire, was fined and ordered to pay £5,266 costs at Southport Magistrates' Court after it admitted breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Robert Hodkinson said: "Falls through fragile material give rise to more fatal accidents in the construction industry than any other single cause.

"These deaths occur in both the construction and maintenance sectors of the industry, involving a whole range of fragile materials.

"Mr Gillespie was extremely lucky: he could have easily been killed. In 2005-06, there were 24 fatalities in construction as the result of a fall from height. This accounted for 41% of the fatalities. There were also 917 major injuries as a result of falling from height, accounting for 25% of the major injuries to employees."

Copyright © PA Business 2007

David Urpeth, Partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell commented: Many accidents at work involve falls from height. Sadly, a large percentage results in serious injury or death. This case demonstrates the serious consequences when workers are allowed to work at height without adequate protection.

I deal with many similar cases where the accident could and should have been avoided.