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Farming company fined after worker seriously injured in roof fall

Date:
20 December 2013

A farming partnership has been fined for safety failings after a worker was seriously injured when he fell from the roof of a cowshed that was being dismantled.

Andrew Kennedy, then 22, was working as a labourer at Craigley Farms, Gelston, Castle Douglas when the incident occurred on 7 July 2010.

He was on the roof of the cowshed removing roof panels when he turned and stepped onto a translucent panel, which gave way beneath him and he fell to the concrete floor some four metres below.

Mr Kennedy was airlifted to hospital with fractures to his right collarbone and several ribs, and a punctured right lung. A drain had to be inserted to enable the lung to reinflate and he had to have surgery to repair his broken collarbone using plates and screws.

He has now made a recovery and has since returned to work.

Dumfries Sheriff Court was told on the 18 December, that he was one of two men working on the roof, having been instructed to walk along the beams and stay clear of the panels and roof edges.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that Craigley Farms failed to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees and the work could have been easily done without anyone working at height, using plant and equipment on site.

The investigation also found that there was no edge protection or any other means to prevent falls from height.

Craigley Farms, of Craigley, Gelston, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire, was fined £6,670 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Brendan Briody, said:

“This was an entirely avoidable incident. Mr Kennedy sustained serious injuries from which he took several months to recover.

“Falls from height remain one of the most common reasons for injuries and even fatalities at work, and it is fortunate that Mr Kennedy survived such a fall.

“Craigley Farms should have carried out a risk assessment before work started. This would have identified the method to do the work involved working at height, and safety measures should have then been used to minimise the risk.

“A safer way of demolishing the cowshed could have been achieved without requiring anyone to work at height. There was plant and equipment on site that could have been used and, in fact, this method was used following Mr Kennedy’s injury which clearly illustrates how easily this incident could have been avoided.”

For more information about working at height log onto the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/index.htm

Notes to Editors:

1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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. In Scotland the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has sole responsibility for the raising of criminal proceedings for breaches of health and safety legislation.

3. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It is the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees.”

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