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Court cases confirm perils of domestic refurb jobs

2 Nov 15 A self-employed construction worker was fined £10,000 last week after a man he employed to help repair a shed roof fell and was fatally injured.

Ayr Sheriff Court heard how on 26 August 2012, David William McVey had employed William Sproat, 63, to repair a storm damaged shed roof at Brunton Farm, New Crummnock.

The two men, both from Patna in Ayshire, had used ladders to climb onto the shed roof to replace roof sheeting. William Sproat fell approximately six metres through the roof to the concrete floor below. He died from his injuries five days later.

There was no edge protection and neither wore wearing safety harnesses. No measures were taken by David McVey to prevent or mitigate a fall from height.

David William McVey, of Jellieston Terrace, Patna, East Ayrshire, was fined a total of £10,000, after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

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A very similar case was also heard at Falkirk Sheriff Court last week. In July 2012 self-employed roofer Adam Menzies brought in Brian Honeyman to help re-roof a house in Stenhousemuir. Due to lack of planning and safety precautions, Mr Honeyman fell six metres and was left with injuries that are likely to require him to reside in a care facility for the rest of his life

Mr Menzies, 43, of Falkirk Road, Larbert, Falkirk, pleaded not guilty to charges of breaching safety laws but was found guilty after a trial at Falkirk Sheriff Court and fined £8,000.

HSE principal inspector Isabelle Martin said after the Falkirk hearing: “Adam Menzies failed to provide a suitable scaffold that would have protected against this fall from height. This disregard for basic safety precautions has resulted in Brian Honeyman suffering horrific injuries from which he will never recover. Sadly, HSE inspectors find this kind of poor practice is all-too-common on domestic refurbishment projects. Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of workplace deaths and serious injuries. There must always be fall protection when carrying out roof work, no matter how big or small the job that’s being done.”

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