Roofing cladder falls 10 meters through factory roof

Principal contractor Weiser Construction Ltd and Complete Cladding Systems Ltd were both sentenced for safety breaches after a worker suffered life changing injuries.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 4 January 2016, Brian Robinson was working as a sheeter cladder at the Weiser Construction site at the John Cotton factory in Mirfield, West Yorkshire. He was on a factory roof affixing sheet metal cladding and capping to the gable end of an adjoining building. Whilst tying the cappings to the roof, Mr Robinson fell through a roof light 9.7m into the active factory area below. He suffered an open fracture to his femur and multiple fractures to his pelvis. Mr Robinson underwent operations to insert six pins into his pelvis, two pins to the top and two pins to the bottom of his femur.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the original scaffold that had been constructed upon the roof had been removed prior to cladding works being completed. Spandeck boards with guardrails were the preferred control measure but use of these boards meant that workers could not affix the handrails in situ.

No nets had been scheduled to be used in the area of the factory and as Mr Robinson fell, the top half of his legs struck the top of a storage cage, approximately 2.4m high, before continuing his fall to the floor behind the storage cage.

Weiser Construction Ltd (now in liquidation) of Clark Business Recovery Ltd, York Place, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £145,000 with £5,046.30 costs.

Complete Cladding Systems Ltd of Newton Cap House, Toronto, Bishop Auckland pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1074 and has been fined £165,000 with £5,114.49 costs

After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson commented: “Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.

“This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the principal contractor to manage and monitor the works to ensure the correct work equipment was being used. This risk was further amplified by the cladding company’s failure to ensure suitable measures were in place to prevent persons falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

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