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April 1, 2021

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Construction firm sentenced after worker falls from height

A self-employed labourer fell almost four meters through a fragile skylight while working to fit roof sheets to a newly constructed steel framed barn. He spent nearly two weeks in hospital after being knocked unconscious and suffering head and facial injuries.

Cutler Bros. Ltd and its Director, Roger Martin Cutler have been sentenced after a worker fell through a skylight during the construction of a new farm building in Wimborne.

Poole Magistrates’ Court heard that on 22nd February 2019, a self-employed labourer was working with another colleague to fit roof sheets to the newly constructed steel framed barn. While working from the roof of an existing, adjacent barn, the worker fell through a fragile skylight in the barn roof almost four meters to the floor below. He suffered head and facial injuries and was knocked unconscious. He spent nearly two weeks in hospital.

The HSE‘s investigation found that the work had not been properly planned. The method of work meant that workers had to work near to a fragile roof without having sufficient platforms and guard rails in place. The company Director was on site directing the work.

Cutler Bros. Ltd of Horton Road, Wimborne, Dorset pleaded guilty to breaching Section 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. They have been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,600.

As a director of the company, Roger Martin Cutler pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and has been fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Georgina Symons, said “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply using correct control measures and following safe working practices.

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities/injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”

Barbour download: Guide to working at height

Work at any height can cause injury; a fall from a height of just one or two steps can cause serious injury.

The Regulations were amended in 2007 to extend their application to those who work at height providing instruction or leadership to one or more people engaged in caving or climbing by way of sport, recreation, team building or similar activities in Great Britain.

Download your free guide from Barbour to understand: Duties of persons in control of work at height; Duties of persons undertaking work at height; General controls when working at height; Method statement for work at height; Selection of a means of access; Working platforms; Guardrails and toeboards; Ladders Mobile work platforms; Suspended access equipment; Personal suspension equipment and, Inspection of fall arrest equipment.

Barbour EHS

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