Man was saved by landing on sandy surface…
A cleaning company has been prosecuted after an employee fell six metres through the roof of a riding school at an estate in Surrey.
The accident victim miraculously did not suffer fatal injuries considering the length of the fall and was saved after landing on a sand-covered floor which lessened the impact of the fall.
They cleaning company had been subcontracted to carry out a project that involved cleaning the gutters at a farm on the estate when the accident happened on 23 March 2012.
North Surrey Magistrates’ Court heard that the accident victim was cleaning the roof of the stable when he accidentally stepped on a plastic skylight that couldn’t take his weight and caused him to fall to the sandy surface below which was ostensibly in place for the comfort of horses but on this occasion saved the man’s life.
The subsequent investigation into the accident by the Health and Safety Executive discovered that the cleaning company had failed in their duty to protect the safety of their employees by not providing any kind of supervision or fall prevention facilities. And even though their risk assessment highlighted the danger of falling through the skylight it didn’t specifically advise employees not to cross it.
The cleaning company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £4000 and ordered to pay £3700.30 in costs. The worker also received £1000 in compensation.
Inspector Russell Beckett spoke after the hearing had been concluded:
“The six metre fall could have easily have proved fatal and was entirely and easily preventable.
“The company could have covered the skylight, or used a cherry picker to raise workers up to the roof light – both simple measures to take.
“Roofers account for almost a quarter of all workers who are killed in falls from height, and falls through fragile materials like sky lights account for more of these deaths than any other single cause. Many others are seriously injured and are left with permanent life-changing disabilities.
“The dangers are obvious, the safety guidance is clear and there is no excuse for workers to be risking their lives.”
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