Skylight fall results in £25,000 in fines
A Dartford scaffolding business and its director have been prosecuted for failing to provide a safe way of working on a fragile roof after a worker fell and suffered serious injuries.
James Froud, 22, from Gillingham, was hospitalised for 10 days and had to take several months off work whilst wearing a back brace and using crutches as a result of the incident at the Siemens Wind Power compound at Ramsgate Port on 12 October last year.
Canterbury Magistrates heard that Froud, a scaffold labourer working for London and South Scaffolding Ltd, was fitting hand rails on a fragile rooftop when he fell 7m through the skylight.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found that the company and director Gary Peck were aware of how fragile the roof and skylights were, but failed to take adequate measures to prevent a fall, such as using a mobile elevating work platform to avoid standing on the roof, or using staging fitted with guard rails.
London and South Scaffolding Ltd and Gary Peck both pleaded guilty to four separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 for not doing more. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,000. Gary Peck was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Caroline Penwill said: "Falls from height are the most common cause of workplace fatality and also account for a large number of serious injuries, as was the case here.
"The company and director were aware that the roof and skylights were fragile, but did not take any steps to avoid access to the roof or provide a safe method of work. Had they done so, James' fall could have been prevented.
Today's prosecution underlines that all work at height must be properly planned, supervised and carried out safely, especially when it involves working on or near a fragile roof. Companies and directors need to carefully consider the risks of working at height and identify and implement adequate controls to protect their employees."
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This article was published on 25 Oct 2012 (last updated on 25 Oct 2012).