Worker fell through roof and broke back firm fined

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A 24 year old worker fell through a fragile roof and suffered serious injuries the company from Manchester has been fined £20,000

The 24-year-old, employed by Hightech Roofing N/W Limited, was repairing a roof on a building in Blackburn when they fell approximately 4.8 metres through a roof light on 3 August 2022.

The employee suffered a broken foot and ankle as well as a fractured vertebrae.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Hightech Roofing N/W Limited failed to ensure the work on the roof was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner that was as safe as reasonably practicable. While on the roof, operatives used orientated strand boards as crawl boards to move around the roof. The boards were placed where employees needed to step, but did not cover the roof lights, which led to the worker falling.

Rooflight that worker fell through
Roof light that worker fell through

The company also failed to assess the specific risks arising from the need to work on or over fragile surfaces and failed to consider risks arising from employees working in proximity to the edge of the roof. No edge protection had been installed at the gable end of the building.

HSE guidance states those carrying out roof work must be trained, competent and instructed in use of the precautions required. A ‘method statement’ is the common way to help manage work on roofs and communicate the precautions to those involved. More on this can be found at: Construction – Roof work industry health & safety (hse.gov.uk)

The height that the worker fell through
The height that the worker fell through

Hightech Roofing N/W Limited, of Grimshaw Street, Failsworth, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £5,858.46 in costs at Preston Magistrates’ Court on 9 May 2024.

HSE inspector Sam Eves said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

This prosecution was brought by HSE enforcement lawyer Gemma Zakrzewski and supported by HSE paralegal officer Rebecca Withell.

Source HSE