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Sentence for Roofing Contractor Following Worker Fall From Height

14th March 2022

An Exmouth based roofing contractor was sentenced in February following a 2018 incident that saw a casual labourer fall through a skylight during the renovation of an asbestos cement roof.

Plymouth Magistrates’ Court heard that the labourer, who had wished to gain industry experience of roof work, was instructed by the roofing contractor to cut fibreglass for the roof of the building, and then went up to the roof to observe its fitting alongside another colleague.

Whilst on the roof, the worker stepped on a fragile skylight, which subsequently gave way, causing him to fall five and a half metres to the floor below. The worker suffered multiple fractures to his hand and wrist which required surgical wiring to repair as well as a fractures to his ribs.

An investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found a failure to properly plan the work, as well as a lack of training or experience in supervising work at height. Furthermore, no preventative measures were in place on site for the skylights, such as crawl boards, netting or the use of safety harnesses.

The roofing contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Section 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was given a 12-month community order (including 80 hours of unpaid work) and was ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

Speaking of the incident, Jamie Lyons, Scaffolding Health and Safety Advisor at SIMIAN said, “There are far too many of these easily prevented injuries, and it is almost always the case that they are ultimately caused by a failure to adequately plan the work. Whilst the inherent dangers of roof lights may be obvious to those experienced in roof work, it is not necessarily the case for those with less experience, or who have not worked on fragile roofs before. Therefore, with the right level of planning and pre-task consideration, consideration can be given to factors such as competence, supervision and fall protection, before any one is placed in any danger.”

Falls from height are a far too common occurrence at sites across the UK, and often simple control measures in place, as well as adequate training, planning and supervision can prevent them. If you would like support for your business to ensure you are working safely at height at all times, contact the SIMIAN team today.