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Builder fined after worker falls through roof

Date:
12 September 2013

A Leicestershire builder has been fined for safety failings after a sub-contractor broke his neck and arm when he fell through a fragile roof light.

Self-employed James Beeston had been hired to carry out minor building works and repairs at a factory in Station Road, Bagworth. Part of the work involved replacing roof lights comprising a single strip of Perspex running along the middle of each roof pitch.

Leicester Magistrates’ Court was today (12 Sept) told that sub-contractor Kline Wilkins, 45, of Coalville, was helping Mr Beeston to replace the lights with solid strips of roof sheeting using a jig. He was kneeling on a board over one of the Perspex roof lights trying to get the jig to work. Mr Beeston came round to show him what to do but as Mr Wilkins moved out of the way, he fell through a fragile roof light behind him to the concrete floor three metres below.

Mr Wilkins was airlifted to hospital with a fractured neck and right arm. He also suffered soft tissue damage to his kidneys and hip. He has still not returned to work but hopes to do so in the next two months.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, on 7 May 2013, found Mr Beeston had failed to provide any suitable safety measures to prevent a fall through the fragile roof material.

James Beeston, of Limby Hall Lane, Swannington, Coalville, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(2)(a)of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £397.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Tony Mitchell said:

“Mr Wilkins is lucky to be alive as work at height on fragile roofs is a significant cause of fatal incidents. The risks are widely known in the construction industry, as are the measures needed to reduce those risks.

“Companies or individuals, such as Mr Beeston, who don’t provide a safe system of work or fail to comply with the required standard can expect to be brought before the courts.”

Further information on working safely at height can be found online at 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 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 9(2)(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Where it is not reasonably practicable to carry out work safely and under appropriate ergonomic conditions without passing across or near, or working on, from or near, a fragile surface, every employer shall ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that suitable and sufficient platforms, coverings, guard rails or similar means of support or protection are provided and used so that any foreseeable loading is supported by such supports or borne by such protection.”

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