Man falls head first through fragile roof…
A 49-year-old construction worker from Nottingham suffered a broken neck and a fractured back after falling almost two and a half metres through a fragile roof.
The housing and maintenance company for whom he works have since been prosecuted by the HSE. The HSE decided to prosecute the company after their investigation discovered that work carried out by the company had not been planned to sufficiently safe standard nor had the work been supervised in accordance with recommended safety principles.
The accident occurred while two workers were replacing cement sheets on the roof of a single story outhouse. One of the men accessed the roof using a ladder while his colleague stayed below. As the work progressed one of the cement sheets began to collapse and was left hanging from the roof. The accident victim tried to go down the ladder but his hand went through the collapsed cement sheet and he lost his balance falling through it head first and landing on the concrete floor below. He sustained serious injuries in the fall including a broken neck and a fractured back and was required to wear a body and neck brace for three months after the accident. The HSE have set specific safety standards for the potentially dangerous occupation that is working at heights and the company who employed the man failed in this regard.
The housing and maintenance company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 amd was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,452.
HSE Inspector Nic Rigby spoke after the hearing:
“Work at height carries significant risk and must be properly planned, particularly when it involves fragile roof surfaces.
“This incident has left a man with life-changing injuries yet it could have been avoided if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been carried out. This would have identified the need for this work to have been properly supervised and carried out by trained staff.
“The employee spent several months after the incident not knowing when he would be able to return to work or when life would return to normal.”
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