May 16, 2019

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In court

Worker broke back in roof fall

An employee was seriously injured after falling through a fragile roof while carrying out building work.

Boston Magistrates’ Court was told how on 2 May 2017 the employee of Foundations and Buildings Ltd was constructing the roof of a new agricultural building adjacent to an existing barn in Louth, Lincolnshire. During this work, he stepped onto the fragile roof of the adjacent barn, fell five metres onto the concrete floor and broke his back.

The HSE’s investigation found that the system of work in use to control risks from work at height Foundations and Buildings Ltd was fundamentally unsuitable.

This was because it relied on workers wearing harnesses to control the risk of falling when it would have been more appropriate to use edge protection or nets, says the HSE. In addition to this, the investigation determined that although harnesses had been provided, in reality their use was not enforced by the company.

Foundations and Buildings Limited of Manor Farm, Skegness Road, Hogsthorpe, Skegness, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was £30,000 with costs of £4,814.04

HSE Inspector Roy Poulter commented: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”


Watch: the most read fines and prosecution stories in April 2019…

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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