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Young Builder Suffers Spinal Injuries In Fall

"This Was An Accident Waiting To Happen," Says District Judge


A 25-year-old construction worker suffered spinal injuries in an accident that a District Judge described as "waiting to happen".

Daniel Thorley, of Llantrisant, was working for Cardiff-based firm Blackflair on a new three-storey property in Dinas Powys when the incident occurred.

He fell through a window to a concrete floor below, leaving him with back injuries that were so bad he was unable to work for more than a year.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Mr Thorley had been asked to help waterproof a flat roof.

It emerged that a hole had been cut into the roof, in which a window was set to be fitted. However, Mr Thorley fell through the gap as he attempted to roll out a sheet of polythene.

The HSE discovered there was nothing covering the hole and no fall prevention measures had been put in place underneath the roof.

In his sentencing remarks during the hearing at Cardiff Magistrates' Court, District Judge Bodfan Jenkins said the lack of risk assessment and adequate supervision were the "underlying causes" of the fall.

"This was an accident waiting to happen and in the circumstances caused serious injuries," he commented.

Blackflair was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £1,137 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Liam Osborne said: "The risks could have been much reduced if measures such as guardrails had been installed around the hole or a temporary crash deck structure placed underneath.

"Airbags or beanbags commonly used in the construction industry could have been placed to cushion any fall."

Falls from height were the most common cause of workplace fatalities in the UK in 2012-13, with HSE statistics showing that this type of accident accounted for 31 per cent of all occupational deaths during this 12-month period.

Injuries sustained from slips, trips and falls also resulted in an estimated two million lost working days.

Our specialist serious injury claims team will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you or a loved one has suffered due a spinal injury. See our Spinal Injury Compensation Claims page for more information.

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