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Southport firm in court over worker’s roof fall

Date:
26 March 2015

A Southport company has been fined after an employee sustained serious injuries when he fell some four metres from a bungalow roof.

The 60-year-old from Southport, who has asked not to be named, fractured his skull and back, and broke several ribs in the incident on 6 March 2014.

Instruments & Gauges Electronics Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that the employee was not given suitable equipment to carry out the work safely.

Sefton Magistrates’ Court in Bootle heard today (26 Mar) that the company specialises in manufacturing and repairing electrical test equipment but that its managing director is also the landlord for several homes.

The employee was asked to repair a broken ridge tile on the roof of a bungalow on Fylde Road in Southport. He used his ladder to reach the flat roof on a conservatory at the back of the property.

The worker then pulled the ladder up onto the conservatory roof and used it to reach the tile at the top of the bungalow roof. He fell around four metres and was found on the ground by the tenant, who called for an ambulance.

The employee was in the high dependency unit at the hospital for a week before being transferred to a normal ward, and was off work for 19 weeks as a result of his injuries.

The HSE investigation found the work on the roof had not been planned or supervised and the worker had not been given suitable equipment, such as scaffolding or a harness.

The company also failed to report the incident to HSE despite this being a legal requirement when workers suffer a serious injury.

Instruments & Gauges Electronics Ltd, of Gravel Lane in Banks, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £961 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jackie Western said:

“One of the company’s employees has suffered serious injuries that may well affect him for the rest of his life because his employer ignored its legal duty to make sure he stayed safe.

“Falls from height are the most common cause of deaths and serious injuries in the construction industry. The work to repair the ridge tile should have been planned properly but instead the employee was allowed to climb up to the roof without suitable equipment.

“Instruments & Gauges Electronics should have made sure the work was carried out safely or, better still, hired a specialist roofing firm that knew what it was doing.”

More information on health and safety in the construction industry is available at www.hse.gov.uk/construction.

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 states: “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.”

3. Regulation 4(1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 states: “Where any person at work, as a result of a work-related accident, suffers any bone fracture diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner, other than to a finger, thumb or toe, the responsible person must follow the reporting procedure.”

4. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk/.

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