June 9, 2017

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Groundwork company fined after rooftop fall

A Stranraer based groundwork company has been fined after a worker fell more than seven metres through a fragile roof.

The 42-year-old had been sub-contracted by McKeown Groundworks Limited, to carry out roof repairs on a barn at Whiteley’s Farm, Stranraer.

Stranraer Sheriff Court heard that, on 24 May 2016, the worker arrived at the farm to work on the roof. As he walked along the roof he stepped on a translucent light panel which broke under his weight resulting in his falling through the roof to the ground below. He suffered a compression fracture of the lower back as a result.

The HSE’s investigation found that McKeown Groundworks Limited had failed to:

  • adequately supervise this work at height and relied on the experience of the workers to avoid injury while working at height
  • plan the work at height and therefore no control measures had been put in place to prevent workers falling from or through the roof.

McKeown Groundworks Limited, whose registered office is at King Street, Castle Douglas, was fined £12,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2015.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Helen Diamond said: “McKeown’s failings resulted in serious injuries which could have easily been prevented had the company planned the work at height.  Planning the work at height would have included an assessment of the risks and ensuring that suitable and sufficient measures were in place to prevent falls from height.

“Work at height is the biggest single cause of fatal and serious injury in the construction industry, particularly on small projects.”

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Pete Doug
Pete Doug
6 years ago

Sorry to say the ‘ground-working’ firm needs to keep to ground work rather than ‘at height’ – then he might keep his or other workers safe and his profits turning over…! Any ‘contractor’ most know his stuff and that includes Health en Safety issues with his Job tasks he is faced with, if not, find out before sending workers into the breach.

6 years ago

Pete. That’s probably why he ‘contracted out’ the task is it not?

Pete Douglas
Pete Douglas
6 years ago
Reply to  Phil

Sorry Phil – I have to say so, simply both got it totally wrong but this is a basic Janet and John element of work…. as a ‘Contractor’ we should aim toward all being ‘Trained’/’competent’.. hard maybe – but HMRC could engage those whom register as Self-employed (SE) or … to get a basic level if so HSE Training and prove that otherwise HMRC place levies via the TAX system; until the SE show a level suitable to their Industry Sector. We need to have a Policy in place for 5+people but SE has added responsibilities. If we Have the… Read more »