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Contractors fined after scaffolding fall

13 Nov 13 A Lancashire construction company and one of its subcontractors have been fined after their inadequate scaffolding led to a worker falling from a roof, fracturing his skull and breaking his back.

Simon Brown, 40, of Bolton, also suffered neck injuries and a fractured pelvis, and later had to have a kidney removed, after he fainted and fell eight metres from a property on Wheatfield Street, Bolton, on 26 February 2012.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffolding at the rear of the house where he was working failed to offer any fall protection.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that Eagle Construction (Bolton) Ltd had been hired as the main contractor to carry out building work on the property, including the construction of a dormer roof extension.

An experienced roofer, Mr Brown was working for the first time for Steven Winter, owner of Orion Roofing, who had been subcontracted for the roofing work.

Eagle Construction (Bolton) Ltd organised the scaffolding to gutter level on the front of the home and a tower scaffold on the rear of the house to gutter level.

Mr Brown had accessed the new dormer roof area several times over the four days he worked on it, using a ladder onto the scaffolding at the front of the house, then climbing over the ridge of the roof using a ladder, before climbing down onto the dormer roof. He was using the dormer roof as a working platform to hand materials to Steven Winter who was working on the scaffolding below.

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Just before the incident, Mr Brown had been standing while putting corners on the fascia on the edges of the dormer when he said he felt dizzy. He then fainted and fell from the roof into the neighbour’s garden below.

He spent eight weeks in hospital.

Eagle Construction (Bolton) Ltd of Chorley Old Road, Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 13(2) of the of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and was fined £6,000 with £3,000 costs.

Steven Winter of Watson Road, Farnworth, Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £1,000 with £300 costs.

HSE inspector Neil Jamieson said after the hearing: “Although Mr Brown has suffered very serious, life-changing injuries, we could easily be talking about a fatal incident. The initial scaffolding was adequate but the problem arose once work moved onto the dormer extension and roof. It was the responsibility of the Eagle Construction to provide sufficient fall protection but the scaffolding was not modified to fit in with the progress of the work. So what was a sufficient safety measure became insufficient and unsafe. The subcontractor, Steven Winter, also allowed his worker to access the roof and work in a dangerous manner when there was inadequate fall protection.”

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