Man lucky to survive after ten metre fall..
A roofing company has appeared in court after an employee fell almost ten metres through the roof of a sports hall and was lucky to survive the accident.
The 29-year-old accident victim was in the process of replacing the raised roof at the sports facility at a school in Chorlton when the incident occurred on 9 November 2011.
The subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the work site didn’t have the necessary safety protocols in place to combat the risks associated with working at heights. Trafford Magistrates’ Court was told that during the project to replace the roofing at the sports hall, workers had removed supporting steel beams in order to install new beams but this left the structure unstable while the renovations were taking place. The court was also informed there was no protective barriers placed around the fragile area of the roof, while scaffolding had only been erected around some parts of the structure.
The accident victim was walking across the roof in the direction of his work colleagues to ask them their lunch orders when the roof suddenly gave way, and he fell 10 metres to the ground below, hitting some scaffolding on the way down. He broke his pelvis in the fall and also had some fingers broken. His right arm and elbow were also badly damaged in the fall and he has since had an artificial elbow fitted. He has not yet been able to return to full employment as he continues to recover from his injuries.
The roofing company based in Wigan pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay an additional £3,539 in prosecution costs on 31 May 2013.
HSE Inspector Matt Greenly commented after the hearing had closed:
“The injuries the employee has suffered will affect him for the rest of his life but he could easily have been killed if he hadn’t hit the scaffolding on the way to the ground.
“I issued an immediate Prohibition Notice when I visited the site preventing anyone from working on the roof until safety measures had been put in place due to the risk of injury.
“The company had been removing a series of supporting steel beams but no barriers were put up to prevent access to the fragile roof panels despite the company recognising before the incident that barriers would be needed. There should also have been scaffolding under the whole of the roof to catch anyone who fell.
“This was a big project that should have been carefully planned but sadly the company’s failings have led to an employee being badly injured.” HSE statistics report that falls from height are the number one cause of workplace deaths in the construction industry.
Author: Julian Roberts
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