Firms fined after sub-contractor's 'life-changing' roof fall
Posted by Ben Alexander.
Two construction firms have been fined a total of £26,000 after a sub-contractor suffered "life-changing" injuries after a fall from height, highlighting the importance of construction safety signs.
The self-employed Bristol man, who was 26 at the time of the incident in July 2008, was sub-contracting for Martock-based Clive Pearce - which trades as CW Pearce - who in turn was subcontracted to DB Gibbons (Construction), of Bristol.
He was dismantling the roof of a cow shed with a co-worker at a farm in Corston, close to Bath, when the roof sheeting he was standing on collapsed under his weight, Bath and Wansdyke Magistrates Court heard this week.
Falling six metres to the concrete floor, he suffered severe spine and head injuries and is now an incomplete paraplegic, needing a wheelchair to move about.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found there were no safeguards to prevent the man or his colleague falling through the roof, and that it was not even necessary to go on the roof to complete the job.
Both firms pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, and in addition to the fine were ordered to pay a total of £4,000 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Annette Walker, said the man could have died as a result of the incident.
"Falls from height are one of the major causes of death and serious injury in the construction industry."
"The risks of working on or near fragile roofs are well known and the safety measures well established, but HSE continues to see tragic cases such as this where work is not suitably coordinated and planned to reduce risks," she added.
Earlier this month, Hartland-based LD Heywood was fined £5,000 after one of its workers fell through a barn roof while repairing it.
More than 4,000 workers suffered major injuries after a fall from height and 15 were killed last year, HSE figures show.
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