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Contractor fined £60k after roof fall

11 Nov 21 A Wiltshire building contractor has been fined more than £63,000 after a roofer fell through a barn roof.

Trevor Cook Construction Ltd admitted failing to take appropriate precautions while fixing a barn roof at a farm in Amesbury, Wiltshire.

Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 22nd May 2019, an employee was replacing broken roof sheets using a mobile elevating working platform (MEWP) to gain access to the roof of the barn and crawling boards to get across the roof. The man’s foot slipped from one of the crawling boards and he fell through the fragile roof material.

Hitting the ground six metres below, he sustained serious injuries including neck fractures, a collapsed lung and a bleed on the brain.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Trevor Cook Construction had failed to plan the work appropriately. The company was aware of the risks and often used netting when undertaking large re-roofing projects, but made a conscious decision not to install nets for smaller jobs involving the replacement of individual roof sheets. The company should have had the appropriate safeguards in place, the HSE said.

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Trevor Cook Construction Limited of Cadley Road, Collingbourne Ducis, Marlborough, Wiltshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £63,278 and ordered to pay costs of £6,721.

HSE inspector Stephan Axt-Simmonds said after the hearing: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. Falls through fragile roof materials are not inevitable. They can be prevented by careful planning, using trained and experienced workers with suitable equipment, and employing a high level of supervision.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by using established control measures and safe working practices.”

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