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Firm Hit With £881k in Fines After Two Fragile Roof Falls

14th December 2023

A South Wales Company was fined £881,000 this month, following two incidents in which workers fells through fragile roof surfaces.

The first incident saw a roof worker fall through a factory roof in Newcastle upon Tyne whilst replacing a skylight. He fell approximately 7m and landed on a concrete floor, which resulted in him fracturing his pelvis, left wrist and eye socket. The IP was hospitalised for 3 weeks.

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) it was found that the victim’s employer had breached Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and breached Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, following a two-week trial in April 2023. the firm was fined £575,000 and ordered to pay £84,940 in costs.

In the second incident, a scaffolding labourer was making his way across a fragile roof in Swansea, when he fell through a Skylight and landed on the floor, some 20 feet below.  The 24-year old worker fractured his femur and suffered a blood clot in one of his main arteries, which required long-term medication.

The same firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and were fined £306,000 and ordered to pay £27,410.63 in costs. A business partner for the scaffolding firm was also prosecuted, and he pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  On December 5, Newcastle Crown Court sentenced him to 120 hours community service, and ordered him to pay £20,428.73 in costs.

Statistics suggest that fragile roof falls account for almost a of all construction fall fatal incidents, and On average 7 people are killed each year after falling through a fragile roof or fragile roof light, and any of those who survive suffer life-changing injuries.

Speaking of this incident, Dave Randles, SIMIAN Operations Director said:

“Incidents such as these are far too common, and falls through fragile roofs remain one of the biggest causes of fatalities and serious injury in the UK. The simple reality is that they are invariably simple to prevent with adequate planning and supervision, experienced workers and good levels of supervision.”

SIMIAN’s consultancy services extend to offering advice during the planning stage of work at height. Our experienced, scaffolding qualified H&S Advisors can assist with implementing the required control to prevent incidents of this nature. Call 0345 602 2418 or visit