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Tue October 20 2020

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Construction firm fined £10,000 after worker breaks back on Christmas Eve

20 May 10 A construction firm and its client have been fined after a builder suffered fractured vertebrae when he fell from a factory roof in Hertfordshire.

A construction firm and its client have been fined after a builder suffered fractured vertebrae when he fell from a factory roof in Hertfordshire.

Danny Langdon of Sudbury, Suffolk, injured his spine in the seven-metre fall on Christmas Eve 2008 and has been off work since.

Langdon fell through a factory roof light, hit a gantry crane and landed on machinery below.

His employer, construction company Hartog Hutton, appeared at St Albans Crown Court today and admitted breaching three health and safety regulations. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £7,076 in costs.

Client Fluorocarbon Company of Hertford, which had contracted Hartog Hutton to carry out the repairs to its factory roof, appeared at East Hertfordshire Magistrates' Court in Hertford on 26 April 2010 and admitted one charge. It was fined £5,000 with £5,195 in costs.

Hartog Hutton admitted the following charges:

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  • Breaching Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 by failing to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of working on a roof.
  • Breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to take reasonably practicable steps to prevent a person working near or on a fragile roof.
  • Breaching Regulation 4(1)(c)(i) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to ensure that employees working on a roof were competent to do so.

Fluorocarbon Company Ltd admitted one charge:

  • Breaching Regulation 4(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 by failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the contractor engaged to undertake the work was competent to do so.

HSE Inspector John Berezansky said: "This incident was entirely avoidable and should not have happened. Working at height is one of the most obvious and well-known dangers for those involved in repairing or maintenance of buildings.

"Langdon is lucky to be alive. More than 4,000 employees suffered serious injury after falling from height last year and 15 were killed. Employers need to plan ahead and assess potential risks before carrying out any work at height. HSE runs a high-profile Shattered Lives campaign all about slips, trips and falls in the workplace and I would urge all employers to find out more by visiting the website at www.hse.gov.uk/shatteredlives.

"HSE will continue to prosecute companies that fail to carry out their duties, which includes both employers and firms hiring contractors to do specialist work for them."

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