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Construction firm sentenced over ‘life changing’ fall

Date:
9 June 2015

A Construction company has been sentenced after pleading guilty to safety failings after a 55 year old employee fell through a skylight roof. 

Southwark Crown Court heard that Armenian national, Petros Pogosyan fell through a skylight from a unit roof on a London industrial estate while working for Race Interiors Ltd on 18 January 2013. 

Mr Pogosyan fell four and half meters on to a concrete floor at Unit 1, Roseberry Industrial Estate, London and suffered life changing injuries including a fractured back. He is now partially deaf, has damage to his brain, is paralysed from the waist down and psychologically traumatised. 

During the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution case, the court was told he will need personal care for the rest of his life, and will never work again. His wife has given up work to care for him full time. Since the incident the couple have been living on state benefits.

Judge May QC described the accident as highly foreseeable, pointing out there was no protection to prevent a fall from or through the roof. She ruled that the company fell far short of the required standards for managing risks at work as the supervisor was not trained and there was a complete lack of planning with no risk assessment or method statement for the work.

HSE inspector Simon Hester said: “This tragedy should not have happened. Nobody should work on a roof without proper planning.

“It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent a fall. Mr Pogosyan could have been killed by his fall and now suffers massive and irreversible life-changing injuries.”

Race Interiors Limited appeared at and was fined £60,000 with costs of £7,784 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. 

However, in a highly unusual move the fine was converted into a compensation order of £60,000 to be paid directly to Mr Pogosyan. The judge described this as “an exceptional case” as Race Interiors are in dispute with its insurance company and Mr Pogosyan is unlikely, if at all, to receive compensation for his injuries. 

More information about fragile roofs: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis5.pdf 

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. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
  3. Further HSE news releases are available at www.press.hse.gov.uk

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