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February 22, 2021

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Property company fined after employee falls from roof

Property partnership Alex Brewster and Sons has been fined £4,000 after an employee fell through a roof light.

Two employees were removing roofing panels from a derelict shed in Midlothian, Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told. One of the workers stepped on to a roof light, which gave way causing him to fall to the floor below. He sustained serious injuries as a result of the fall including fractures to his pelvis, ribs, and elbow, which required surgery. The incident happened on 19 April 2016.

The HSE’s investigation found that Alex Brewster and Sons, who own and let domestic properties, failed to ensure that work at height was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner which was, as far as reasonably practicable, safe. There were insufficient measures in place to prevent the risk of a fall from height.

Alex Brewster and Sons, of Bonnington Store, Wilkieston, Kirknewton pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 4 and Section 33(1)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They were fined £4,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Gillian Anderson said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the severe injuries sustained by this employee could have been prevented.”

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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