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Mon June 14 2021

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Subbie breaks neck in roof fall

13 Sep 13 A Leicestershire builder has been fined for safety failings after a subcontractor broke his neck and arm when he fell through a fragile roof light.

Self-employed James Beeston had been hired to carry out minor building works and repairs at a factory in Station Road, Bagworth. Part of the work involved replacing roof lights comprising a single strip of Perspex running along the middle of each roof pitch.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday (12 Sept) that subcontractor Kline Wilkins, 45, of Coalville, was helping Mr Beeston to replace the lights with solid strips of roof sheeting using a jig. He was kneeling on a board over one of the Perspex roof lights trying to get the jig to work. Mr Beeston came round to show him what to do but as Mr Wilkins moved out of the way, he fell through a fragile roof light behind him to the concrete floor three metres below.

Mr Wilkins was airlifted to hospital with a fractured neck and right arm. He also suffered soft tissue damage to his kidneys and hip.

The incident took place on 7 May 2013. Mr Wilkins has still not returned to work but hopes to do so in the next two months.

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An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Beeston had failed to provide any suitable safety measures to prevent a fall through the fragile roof material.

James Beeston, of Limby Hall Lane, Swannington, Coalville, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(2)(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £397.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Tony Mitchell said: “Mr Wilkins is lucky to be alive as work at height on fragile roofs is a significant cause of fatal incidents. The risks are widely known in the construction industry, as are the measures needed to reduce those risks.

“Companies or individuals, such as Mr Beeston, who don’t provide a safe system of work or fail to comply with the required standard can expect to be brought before the courts.”

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