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Thu November 26 2020

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Hard labour for negligent building boss

12 Feb 19 The owner of a building boss has been ordered to do 200 hours community service and pay nearly £7,000 of legal costs for safety lapses that resulted in an employee breaking his back in a fall.

Graham Dyson, the director of Globalforce Contracts Limited, was sentenced after an employee fell from a roof. The company was put into liquidation five months after the incident but the sole director was held personally accountable.

Chelmsford Magistrates Court heard how, on 7th April 2017, Slawomir Miller, an employee of Globalforce Contracts, was carrying out roof repairs when he fell six metres through a fragile rooflight. Mr Miller landed on the concrete floor below and received multiple fractures to his vertebrae, ribs, elbow, wrist and sacral bones. He spent eight weeks in hospital.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Graham Dyson had failed to plan the work properly or provide adequate fall protection to his employees. Mr Miller had never carried out roofwork before but was instructed to access the roof via a scissor lift, which he was not trained to use. Mr Dyson allowed Mr Miller to work without supervision, undertaking activities that necessitated walking across a fragile roof composed of asbestos cement sheeting.

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Graham Dyson, of Bulphan, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay costs of £6,848.60 and a victim surcharge of £85.

HSE inspector Adam Hills said after the hearing: “This incident could so easily have been prevented. Work at height on asbestos cement roofing is dangerous and requires adequate planning, organisation, training and equipment.

“The director was aware of the need to access and repair the roof. He could have provided work at height training and equipment to workers, or simply contracted the task out to a professional roofing company. Directors should be aware that they may be held personally accountable if they endanger the lives of their employees.”

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