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Building company fined after worker fell three metres

Date:
16 October 2017

A building firm has been fined after a worker suffered injuries to his arm, after falling through a fragile opening on a roof.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 29 October 2015, a Polycastle Limited employee was installing a conservatory roof to a domestic property in Lowestoft, and fell approximately three metres through a pre-cut Velux window opening, which was concealed by a wet waterproof membrane. He sustained multiple fractures which have left him with scarring, and a permanent inability to fully extend his arm. He was hospitalised for several days, and unable to return to work for three months.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found there was a significant lack of planning for the roof’s installation, in so far as no suitable equipment was provided to protect workers from falling off the roof edge. No relevant training or instruction was provided on how to carry out work safely, and the injured person was not informed that the Guardian Warm roof contained a Velux window, so did not expect there to be an opening when walking on the roof.

Polycastle Limited of Quay View Business Park, Lowestoft pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of Work at Height Regulations 2005, and has been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,447.

Speaking after the case HSE inspector Kasia Urbaniak said: “This accident could have been prevented if the company had introduced control measures to mitigate the risk of falling from height.

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related injuries in this country, and workers must be protected at all times, as even a fall from three metres can result in serious injuries.”

Notes to Editors:

 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It helps Great Britain work well by applying a broad range of regulatory interventions and scientific expertise, to prevent 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. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

 

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