Retail-park roof fall lands two firms in the dock23 August 2012
Two companies have admitted failing to ensure part of a roof had in place edge protection, the absence of which led a worker to fall eight metres to the ground.
Taylor Pearson Construction Ltd was the principal contractor building a new retail unit at The Carlton Centre, in Lincoln. The company sub-contracted Roofwise (Bourne) Ltd to clad the roof.
On 24 May last year, a team of four workers was cladding the roof. Two workers were in the basket of a scissor lift and the other two were standing on the roof. Edge protection and safety netting had been installed around the majority of the roof, but an indented corner had been left unprotected.
One of the men was kneeling in a gutter, in the unprotected area of the roof, in order to install a fixing. He lost his balance and fell off the roof, striking the handrail of a scissor lift, before hitting the ground more than eight metres below.
He suffered a fractured pelvis, shattered heel and broken thumb. He spent several weeks in hospital and required several metal plates inserted to mend his fractures. He has been unable to return to work owing to his injuries.
The HSE visited the site two days later and found both companies had failed to agree on procedures to install edge protection around the part of the roof from where the worker had fallen. Roofwise thought timber roof trusses would be in place, which would have acted as edge protection. Taylor Pearson Construction suggested a bird-cage scaffold needed to be erected. Neither company came to a written agreement on the suggested method, nor did they monitor the work to ensure suitable edge protection was put in place in that area.
HSE inspector Tony Mitchell said: “Both defendants clearly identified the risk of a fall and the precautions that were needed, but had not fully followed this through on site. Several opportunities to identify and remedy this deficiency had been missed.
“The injured worker is lucky to be alive. There is no room for complacency when it comes to work at height.”
Taylor Pearson Construction appeared at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on 22 August and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. It was fined £5000 and ordered to pay costs of £1710.
Roofwise (Bourne) Ltd attended the same hearing and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Receiving a fine of £3000, it was also required to pay £1710 in costs.
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