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Retail giant Westfield fined after roof fall

11 Mar 15 The owner of the Westfield shopping centres has been fined after a worker fractured a shoulder in a fall during construction of a roof extension at White City mall.

Westfield Shoppingtowns Ltd was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at the west London complex on 20th December 2013. It was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £1,247 in costs after admitting a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Westminster Magistrates heard that the company was also the principal contractor for the construction of a two-storey roof extension to an existing retail store.

Brett Mason, from the West Midlands, was one of a team of subcontractors hired to move five air conditioning units to the new roof plant deck.

On the night of the incident, he and a colleague had been finishing work in preparation for the Christmas break and, in a final check of the plant deck, the two had a walk around to ensure all their materials were secure and not liable to blow off the roof.

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They went into an area of the plant deck where installation of the mesh flooring had been recently completed and where they had stored large sections of duct. They found two duct sections they felt were not securely lashed down, so they decided to untie them and lay them down before securing them firmly.

As they were about to work on the second duct, Mr Mason stepped back and fell through an unprotected eight-by-one-metre gap in the plant deck mesh flooring, landing on the roof deck two metres below. He dislocated and fractured his right shoulder and was off work for six months.

The court heard how the HSE’s investigation found that the worker’s fall could have been easily avoided had edge protection been placed around the gap, as is the accepted practice to protect workers operating at height.

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