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Construction company fined after worker breaks back in roof light fall

5 Jul 10 A construction company has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a worker fell through a roof light causing a fractured vertebra and narrowly missing machinery blades.

A construction company has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a worker fell through a roof light causing a fractured vertebra and narrowly missing machinery blades.

Adam Phillips Plant Hire and Contractors Ltd of Ponsanooth, Cornwall, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure the safety of employees by not providing a safe system for working on a roof.

The company was fined £4,000 with £1,694 costs.

Client New Generation Daffodils of Crowan, near Camborne, pleaded guilty to an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure that work at height was properly planned and appropriately supervised.

The company was fined £1,500 with £1,634 costs.

Adam Phillips Plant Hire was contracted by New Generation Daffodils to repair storm damaged roofs at their premises, and work began on 2 May 2008.

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The work did not include the use of edge protection, appropriate crawling boards or measures to prevent falls.

At the time of the accident the repair work was already completed, however an airline had been left on another roof which was made of metal profiled roofing sheets.

Adam Phillips employee, Daniel Ekers, walked along the metal roof to collect the air line. He began to pull the airline back to the compressor. A fragile rooflight on the metal roof was weathered and appeared similar in colour to the metal sheets.

Ekers stepped on the fragile rooflight and fell through it five metres to the ground. He landed on some harvesting equipment inside the building. He narrowly missed landing on the blades of the equipment and sustained a fractured vertebra. He was taken to hospital and when discharged, received treatment over several weeks

HSE inspector Barry Trudgian said: "Despite the risks of roof work near fragile materials being well known, fatalities and serious injuries still occur. Risk assessment should always be suitable and sufficient. When applied to roofwork, a high risk activity, this is especially important."

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