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Employer fined after employee falls through fragile roof

Date:
21 April 2016

Phillip Posnett, a self employed business man has been fined after his employee fell through a fragile sky light on a farm building.

Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of Mr Posnett, Ian Kirby, was replacing broken tiles on a roof. After completing the repair on the roof ridge, he stepped onto an adjacent fragile roof to remove debris. He fell several feet through a fragile skylight into a tractor scraper parked below. Mr Kirby suffered a broken collar bone, broken ribs anda chip to the spine as well as head injuries and was taken to hospital. He was unable to return to work for six months.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the incident which occurred on 13 November 2014 found there was no suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the job. Ian Kirby had not undergone specific training for working at height. He had been given no information or instruction on the potential risks in relation to roof work.

Mr Phillip Posnett, of Haughton Hall, Hall Lane, Haughton, Tarporley, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,330.80.

HSE inspector Jane Carroll said after the hearing: “Falls through fragile roofs are a well documented hazard when undertaking roof work of any type. This case highlights how a failure to risk assess a job properly and identify the presence of a fragile roof can lead to serious personal injury for workers.”

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. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. More information about safe working on roofs can be found at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/faq-height.htm#roofwork
  4. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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