Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

January 27, 2017

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Three construction companies fined after worker fall

Three companies from Essex have been fined after a worker fell over seven metres through a fragile roof he was replacing.

Pre incident – how the easi-dec was moved across roof

Pre incident – how the easi-dec was moved across roof

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Rafal Myslim was standing on the fragile roof at Dengie Crops Ltd in Asheldem, when the asbestos sheeting gave way and he fell 7.5m onto a concrete floor, hitting a number of pipes within the building on the way down. There was no safety netting or other protective equipment to prevent him from falling and he suffered a hematoma on the brain.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found three companies at fault for the fall. Dengie Crops Ltd contracted Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd, who are an agricultural machinery supplier, to help the company replace their roof . Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd did not have the appropriate experience and subcontracted the work to Balsham (Buildings) Ltd who worked out how the roof replacement should take place. Balsham then subcontracted the actual replacement of the roof to Strong Clad Ltd.

Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd were unable to act effectively in their role as principal contractor because they had no experience of working in construction. They could not effectively oversee Balsham (Buildings) Ltd plans that had highlighted the risk of a fall. None of the parties involved put in place safety measures for 40% of the roof that did not have netting below. They relied too heavily on the verbal briefings to workers reminding them of where the netting was rather than putting in place effective safety measures for the whole roof.

Dengie Crops (2)

Post incident – inside warehouse – hole created in roof where Mr Myslim fell through

Ernest Doe & sons Ltd, of Ulting, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined £360,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000

Balsham (Buildings) Ltd, of Balsham, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000

Strong Clad Ltd, of Castle Hedingham, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000

Dengie Crops (3)

Post incident – hole created where Mr Myslim fell

HSE inspector Adam Hills said: “The dangers of working on fragile roofs are well documented. Every year too many people are killed or seriously injured due to falls from height while carrying out this work.

“Work at height requires adequate planning, organisation and communication between all parties. This incident was entirely preventable and Mr Myslim is lucky to be alive.”

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Related Topics

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Charles McLaughlin
Charles McLaughlin
7 years ago

There is no magic ‘safety differently’ fairy dust to stop this happening. And, herein lies the problem of the reduction of fatalities and serious injuries in the UK. The big guns with their access to psychologists, and marketing experts, don’t need a new workplace safety fad, they just don’t, it is all just vanity. The good ship ‘safety differently’ is all freshly painted, and ready to sail, however the problem is below the waterline, and is not going to change. We are deluding ourselves. Your online magazine has 64 pages full of this.

7 years ago

Interestingly they are wearing a harness with nowhere to clip to, disposable overalls presumably for asbestos and a hard hat. No mention of edge protection and why stand on the roof to move your safety gear? This is a typical sub contractor who thinks that safety is about wearing PPE and not knowing why, and PC’s and Contractors attempting to shift responsibility and not manage or monitor to save a few quid. Fair result!

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp
7 years ago

Some good comments and I will add my own – once again we see the client has not been held accountable for their role in this incident. Although no date has been given when the incident occurred the reference to CDM 2007 gives an indication, even under the now abrogated 2007 Regs the client was held to be repsonsible for safety on construction projects and to ensure the competence of all apointees. Whilst the client may not have had the specilaised knowledge of construction this was clearly a high risk task, they still gave the work to a company who… Read more »