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Firm fined after a man fell through fragile roof onto concrete

Date:
3 July 2015

 A construction company was fined after a worker fell through a roof three metres onto a concrete floor below.

On Friday 3 July, Reading Magistrates’ Court heard how Barski Developments Limited had been contracted to refurbish a number of industrial units at Slough Business Park in the autumn of 2013.

The work included cleaning and repair work to the multi pitched asbestos cement roofs over the units. The work was to be done by sub-contractors under the direct control of director of the company. A large part of the roof comprised of vertical polycarbonate skylights along the internal gutters of the roof.

During the work, 55-year-old sub-contractor, Stanislaw Jakubus, fell three metres through the fragile material to a concrete floor below. He suffered multiple injuries including cracked ribs and was unable to work for two months.

Barski Developments Limited, of Munster Road, London, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(a) and 9(2)(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £20,000 with costs of £880 with £120 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Dominic Goacher said: “Mr Jakubus’ painful injuries could easily have been avoided had the roof refurbishment been better planned and managed.

“As principal contractor, the onus was on Barski Developments to ensure that happened, but they failed to identify and address the risks associated with the fragile sky lights. Falls through fragile roofs account for almost a quarter of all work at height deaths, so it is absolutely vital that any such work is fully considered and that the correct equipment and working methods are used at all times.

“On this occasion the simple installation of guardrails against the sky lights and a proper assessment of all the roof materials would have prevented the incident.”

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 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 – Every employer shall ensure that work at height is properly planned; appropriately supervised; and carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe, and that its planning includes the selection of work equipment in accordance with regulation 7.
  3. Regulation 9(2)(a)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— (a) 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.
  4. Further HSE news releases are available at www.press.hse.gov.uk
  5. More information about working on roofs safely can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg33.htm

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