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North West company fined after employee fell from height

9 June 2017

A North West welding and metal fabrication firm has appeared in court after a worker suffered life threatening injuries after falling through a fragile roof.

Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court heard that an employee of John Fowler & Son (Blacksmiths & Welders) Ltd fell eight metres through a fragile roof of a timber storage shed, whilst attempting to carry out minor roof repairs on a site in Salford on 23 February 2016.

The 39-year old man suffered multiple injuries including a broken leg, elbow and ribs. He also punctured his lungs and had his spleen removed as a result of this incident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found no precautions had been taken to prevent workers from falling through or off the edge of the roof.

It was also found the company failed to properly plan the work at height and it failed to implement a safe system of work which ensured the employees were able to safely carry out the roof work.

John Fowler & Son (Blacksmiths & Welders) pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 3 (1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £5,368.23 costs.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Jackie Worrall said: “The injured employee in this case was very fortunate not to lose his life following this fall from height.

“Falls from height can be prevented by careful planning, using trained and experienced workers with suitable equipment and employing a high level of supervision.

“Deaths caused by falls through fragile surfaces occur mainly to those working in the building maintenance sector when carrying out small, short-term maintenance and cleaning jobs.

“On average seven people are killed each year after falling through a fragile roof or fragile roof light. Many others suffer permanent disabling injury.”

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.[1][1]
  1. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:  [2][2]
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  2. More information about this subject can be found at


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