Teenage worker fell through roof at children’s centre19 September 2012
A teenage worker escaped with minor injuries when he dropped through a fragile roof at a children’s activity centre, despite striking a metal railing during the fall.
Brecon Magistrates’ Court heard that WDS Green Energy Ltd was contracted to install solar panels at Cantref Adventure Farm in Brecon, Wales. Joshua Harry, 18, was part of a team of workers who were installing the panels, when the incident took place on 28 February this year.
Mr Harry was working on a fragile cement roof, without any crawling boards or fall-prevention equipment, when it gave way and he fell six metres to the ground. On his descent he hit a metal railing and suffered severe bruising to his back but escaped major injury.
The HSE visited the site the same day and issued a Prohibition Notice to stop the work until suitable fall-prevention methods were adopted.
HSE inspector David Kirkpatrick explained that the company had not carried out adequate planning of the work and should have provided fall-protection equipment, such as netting or harnesses. He said: “It’s crucial that work at height is planned, managed and controlled properly. Even when plans are made, employers must ensure these are carried out properly on site.
“The steps for preventing workers from falling through fragile roofs are simple and are well known in the construction and maintenance industry. It is imperative that companies take sensible precautions to prevent incidents like this from happening.”
WDS Green Energy appeared in court on 12 September and pleaded guilty to breaching s2(1) of the HSWA 1974. It was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £4181 in costs.
In mitigation, the company said it had no previous convictions and cooperated with the investigation. It also told the court that it no longer carries out work on fragile roofs.
After the hearing, inspector Kirkpatrick added: “Mr Harry is a very lucky man indeed not to have suffered far worse injuries, or even death, in a fall from this height.”
Join SHP Online
- ✔ Download free reports and research
- ✔ Access free Digital magazine
- ✔ Email newsletter briefings