Jedburgh Sheriff Court has fined an East Lothian company £50,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work At Height Regulations 2005.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into how a worker fell approximately four metres through a fragile roof-light in March 2013, has revealed significant safety failings.
The court heard that the employee suffered life changing injuries. He is confined to a wheel chair due to his injuries which included a broken sternum, ribs and punctured lungs. Fractures to his spine caused damage to his spinal cord leaving him with paralysed legs.
The worker, although a time served employee, had no formal training in roofing work.
He had gained access to the roof by climbing a ladder and then using crawler boards. The employee had replaced three roof-lights and after a tea break attempted to work on the fourth.
He fell through the roof light and has no recollection of the incident.
The HSE reported that the roofing firm had failed to complete a risk assessment for this specific site, did not plan the work appropriately and did not identify that the work could have been completed by using safety platforms, nets and harnesses and hand rails.
After the case was heard, Ritchie McCrae from the HSE said:
“Falling through fragile roofs and roof lights accounts for almost a fifth of all the fatal incidents which result from falls from height. On average, seven people are killed every year after falling through a fragile roof or roof light. Many others suffer permanent disabling injuries.”
For further information on working at heights click here.