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Heavy fines handed down after roofer’s fall

15 Dec 11 Three contractors from Essex have been fined a total of £53,000 after a roofer fell five metres, sustaining life threatening injuries that have left him in a wheelchair.

Jeremy Bishop, 46 from Romford was re-roofing a domestic property in Loughton in January 2010 when he fell from the scaffolding to the ground below.

He suffered severe injuries to his head, chest and back and was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital where he spent three weeks in intensive care before being transferred to a specialist spinal injuries unit for eight months of intensive rehabilitation treatment.

Vincent Page, 46, and his firm V Page Building Services Ltd of Epping were contracted to build an extension. The roofing was subcontracted to Quality Roofs Ltd of Chingford and its director Alan Tyler, 64, and the scaffolding to Philip Blakeman, 58, (trading as Access Specialists) of Romford.

Harlow Magistrates' Court heard that the subsequent Health & Safety Executive investigation found that intermediate guard rails had not been installed along the entire rear elevation of the scaffolding and there was nothing in place to prevent falls from the gable ends of the house. Those involved had failed to ensure the necessary guardrails had been installed.

The HSE served V Page Building Services with a prohibition notice to prevent further work on the roof until guard rails were installed.

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HSE inspector Adam Hills said after the case: "The injuries Mr Bishop sustained were life changing. He was in hospital for eight months, is still undergoing rehabilitation and will be in a wheelchair for the rest of this life. This could have been prevented if the companies and individuals had taken a few simple industry standard safety precautions by installing the guard rails as edge protection.

"Falls from height are one of the biggest killers in the workplace. Employers need to be aware of the risks it poses and ensure that their staff are properly protected."

Vincent Page of Stanford Rivers Road, Ongar admitted breaching Regulations 8(a) and 12(4) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £20,000 with £8,000 costs.

Quality Roofs Ltd and its director Alan Tyler of Brook Gardens, Chingford pleaded guilty to the same offences. The company was fined £10,000 with £4,000 costs. Mr Tyler was fined £20,000 with costs of £4,000.

Philip Blakeman, trading as Access Specialists, of Queensway, Ongar admitted breaching Regulation 8(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £3,000 with costs of £2,000.

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