Boston Magistrates’ Court heard how on 2nd May 2017 an employee of Skegness-based Foundations & Buildings Ltd was constructing the roof of a new agricultural building alongside an existing barn in Louth, Lincolnshire. While working, he stepped onto the fragile roof of the adjacent barn, fell five metres onto the concrete floor and broke his back.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident revealed that the system of work in use to control risks from work at height was fundamentally unsuitable.
It relied on workers wearing harnesses to control the risk of falling when it would have been more appropriate to use edge protection or nets. In addition to this the investigation determined that although harnesses had been provided, their use was not enforced.
Foundations & Buildings Limited of Manor Farm, Hogsthorpe, Skegness, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,814.04
HSE inspector Roy Poulter said after the hearing: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”