Worker Injured After Falling Through Fragile Roof Light

Company Fined After Worker Was Airlifted To Hospital Following A Fall

10.04.2014

A Leicestershire roofing firm has been fined £6,666 for safety failings that resulted in a sub-contractor falling through a fragile roof light.

K & DE Barnett and Sons of Rearsby pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 following the incident in October last year.

The unnamed 29-year-old man was forced to miss three weeks of work after suffering several fractures to his wrist and pelvis, as well as bruising to his lungs and spine.

He had been attempting to lift a roof sheet from a stack that had been placed on top of a loading bay. In doing so, he overbalanced and trod on the light, which caved in and sent him hurtling to the concrete floor five metres below. The man was airlifted to hospital.

Although the company had conducted a risk assessment and prepared a method statement, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said this had not been discussed with the contractor before he started work.

The plans also failed to provide a safe system of working around fragile roof fittings and there was also no mention of the possible use of safety nets or harnesses.

Speaking after the hearing at Leicester Magistrates' Court, HSE inspector Tony Mitchell said the risk assessment in this case was "wholly inadequate".

"Work at height on or near fragile material is a major risk activity that can result in fatal or severe injury. The risks are foreseeable and there is ample guidance available on how to comply with the law and carry out work safely," he commented.

Incidents of this nature are not uncommon in the UK and the HSE continues to dish out fines to firms that breach working at height laws.

Last week, Bellway Homes of Newcastle was given a £10,000 penalty after a labourer suffered serious injuries - including a fractured forehead, jaw and cheekbone - when falling more than two metres to the ground.