A construction company and a sub-contractor from Bolton have been fined after inadequate scaffolding led to a worker falling from a roof and suffering a fractured skull and broken back.
Simon Brown, 40, of Farnworth, Bolton, also suffered neck injuries and a fractured pelvis, and later had a kidney removed, after he fainted and fell eight metres at a property on Wheatfield Street, Bolton, on 26 February 2012.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffolding at the rear of the house where he was working failed to protect anyone from a fall.
Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard today (8 November) that Eagle Construction (Bolton) Ltd had been hired as the main contractor to carry out building work on the property, including the construction of a dormer roof extension.
An experienced roofer, Mr Brown was working for the first time for Steven Winter, owner of Orion Roofing, who had been sub-contracted for the roofing work.
Eagle Construction (Bolton) Ltd organised scaffolding to gutter level on the front of the home and a tower scaffold on the rear of the house to gutter level.
Mr Brown had accessed the new dormer roof area several times over the four days he worked on it, using a ladder onto the scaffolding at the front of the house, then climbing over the ridge of the roof using a ladder, before climbing down onto the dormer roof.
He was using the dormer roof as a working platform to hand materials to Steven Winter who was working on the scaffolding below.
Just before the incident, Mr Brown had been standing while putting corners on the fascia on the edges of the dormer when he said he felt dizzy. He then fainted and fell from the roof into the neighbour’s garden below.
Mr Brown spent eight weeks in hospital.
Eagle Construction (Bolton) Ltd of Chorley Old Road, Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 13(2) of the of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, and was fined £6,000 with £3,000 costs.
Steven Winter of Watson Road, Farnworth, Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £1,000 with £300 costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Neil Jamieson said:
“Although Mr Brown has suffered very serious, life-changing injuries, we could easily be talking about a fatal incident.
“The initial scaffolding was adequate but the problem arose once work moved onto the dormer extension and roof. It was the responsibility of the Eagle Construction to provide sufficient fall protection but the scaffolding was not modified to fit in with the progress of the work. So what was a sufficient safety measure became insufficient and unsafe.
“The sub-contractor, Steven Winter, also allowed his worker to access the roof and work in a dangerous manner when there was inadequate fall protection.”
For further information and guidance on preventing fall from height in the workplace, go to www.hse.gov.uk/falls
Notes to Editors:
1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
2. Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”
3. Regulation 13(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 states: “Every contractor shall plan, manage and monitor construction work carried out by him or under his control in a way which ensures that, so far as is reasonably practicable, it is carried out without risks to health and safety.”