Construction companies in court after worker sustains head injuries in fall

Two separate divisions of a construction conglomerate have been fined after a worker was seriously injured in a fall through a fragile garage roof.

The 35 year old was helping remove the roof with a colleague when it collapsed on 8 February 2013.

Both men were sent crashing with some two metres to the floor below, His co-worker escaped with minor cuts and bruising but he sustained serious head injuries. These injuries include a traumatic brain injuries which led to him requiring several reconstruction surgeries. The injured worker is still suffering with seizures, is forced to have on going medical treatments, and has struggled to return a normal life.

Both of the companies who were part of the same group were prosecuted after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive identified clear safety failings with the roof work.

The magistrates court heard that the companies failed to ensure  workers knew the clear danger of working around fragile buildings. Had workers been trained to understand these dangers of fragile roofs then a new method of work could have been planned.

The work was not planned with a reasonable amount of forethought as it was deemed low risk.

The firm was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay a further £756.50 in costs at the magistrates court after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height regulations 2005.

Another branch of the same company were also  fined  £10,000 with £756.50 costs for a separate breach of the same legislation.

After the hearing, Inspector Sarah Hill from the Health & Safety Executive said: “The risks from working on fragile roofs are well documented and the hierarchy of controls well established. On this occasion the risks were not properly managed or controlled by either of the respective Cablesheer companies and the fall through the fragile roof was therefore totally preventable.

“There were clear failings with training and a lack of safety measures and equipment, and a worker was seriously injured as a result. Thankfully his colleague escaped relatively unharmed, but he too was put in unnecessary danger. A striking feature of this case is the fact the work could have been planned and managed without the need to physically access the roof in the first place.

Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height regulations 2005 states: “Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

Source: HSE