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Welsh contractor pays out £10,000 after worker breaks back in fall

17 Aug 10 Welsh construction company Delme L James has been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after one of its workers suffered life-changing injuries when he fell three metres from the roof of a farm building.

Welsh construction company Delme L James has been prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after one of its workers suffered life-changing injuries when he fell three metres from the roof of a farm building.

Gwyndaf Davies from Carmarthen, who was 21 at the time of the incident, was helping to re-roof a building at Penwerddu Farm, Boncath on 29 April 2009.

He fell through the roof to the concrete floor below suffering multiple facial fractures, a traumatic brain injury and multiple spine fractures.

Davies spent nine months as an in-patient at Morriston hospital and has undergone significant facial reconstructive surgery and eye surgery.

The accident has left him with the lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury, blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other. He has limited speech and cannot walk without aid. Gwyndaf continues to receive intensive physiotherapy and speech therapy, and it is likely he will require significant care for the rest of his life.

The HSE prosecuted Davies’ employer, Delme L James, for failing to take steps to prevent workers falling from height. Davies had worked for the company since leaving school.

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HSE’s investigation revealed that the company did not plan, supervise or carry out the work safely. There was only limited edge protection to prevent workers falling from the roof and no measures to prevent them falling into the building.

Delme L James of Cynwyl Elfed, Carmarthenshire, pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 when they appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates. They were fined £8,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,189.40.

HSE inspector, Anne Marie Orrells, said: Davies is a young man who has suffered dreadful injuries as a result of this accident which could have resulted in his death. This situation could so easily have been prevented and Davies and his family are still trying to come to terms with the lasting effects of what has happened.

“Falls from height are one of the major causes of death and serious injury in the construction industry. The regulations are clear and well established but HSE continues to see tragic cases such as this resulting from employers not fulfilling their duty to protect workers.

“There is a great deal of guidance freely available on the HSE website, so there is no excuse for getting it wrong – especially given the severity of the consequences.”
 

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