Teenager falls through roof light firm fined

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A construction firm has been fined after a 17-year-old worker fell more than three metres through an opening for a roof light.

Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard that, on 20 August 2018, an employee of Mark Holland Group Ltd fell through a sheet of insulation covering a skylight when walking across an unmarked and unguarded area on the first floor of a construction site in Southgate Street, Gloucester. He suffered multiple broken bones in his right leg and foot and, after two operations, was advised it was unlikely he could work in construction again.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the inexperienced young employee was not supervised properly and was unaware of the risks on site. There were no physical warnings that there was a hole or a fragile surface, and no verbal warning had been circulated to workers on site. There were also no physical barriers to stop anyone walking from the scaffold onto the flat roof. The company failed to ensure that work at height was properly planned and appropriately supervised. Despite this incident, the company continued to fail to ensure work at height was planned and managed on site. Numerous failings were identified by HSE during later visits to the construction site.

Mark Holland Group Limited of Victoria House, Churchill Road, Leckhampton, Cheltenham pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and has been fined £55,620.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Laura Banks said: “This worker’s injuries were life changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and devastation could have been avoided if basic safe guards had been put in place.

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of injuries in the country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.

“Those in control of work at height should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards”.