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July 15, 2020

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In court

Farmer fined after fall from height

A farmer has been for fined breaches of health and safety legislation after a roofing contractor fell whilst installing roof sheets an under construction agricultural building.

A self-employed roofing contractor suffered was injured when he fell approximately 22 feet whilst installing roof sheets on an under construction agricultural building, which had no fall protection or fall prevention measures in place, Carlow District Court was told.

A fine of €1,500 and prosecution costs of €1,500 were imposed on the owner of the farm, near Tullow, Co. Carlow for breaches of health and safety legislation.

The farmer pleaded guilty to Regulation 6 (1) (b) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013, as it relates to Section 77 (2) (c) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. The incident happened on 23 November 2018. He also pleaded guilty to the charge, in that he failed to appoint a Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS).

The role of a Project Supervisor Construction Stage is to coordinate the various construction work activities in such a way as to ensure the safety of all persons on site and compliance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013. A particular requirement is to develop the Construction Stage Safety and Health Plan with specific measures concerning work that involves particular risk such as working at a height/roof work. Additional requirements include the coordination of contractors’ safe working procedures and ensuring all persons on site are in possession of a valid Construction Safety Awareness Registration Card (Safe Pass) and, where required, a Construction Skills Registration Card Scheme Card (CSCS).

Mark Cullen, Assistant Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority said that this particular case highlighted the importance of taking the appropriate safety measures: “The self-employed roofing contractor suffered very serious injuries following an incident which could have been prevented if the appropriate steps were taken by the client. I strongly urge all clients and duty holders to prioritise safety on-site and ensure the necessary planning is undertaken and the required precautions are in place. Failure to do so in this situation led to very serious consequences for the worker concerned.”

Workplace fatality figures released by HSE in England last week highlighted that, despite returning the lowest fatal injury numbers on record for the sector, occupations in agriculture, forestry and fishing remain amongst the most hazardous.

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