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Principal contractor fined after worker suffers brain injury in fall from height

19 April 2018

The principal contractor involved in the construction of a dormer extension has today been sentenced for safety breaches after a self-employed worker suffered life threatening injuries.

Leeds Crown Court heard how, on 29 October 2015, the operative was working on the roof at the side of the dormer when he fell approximately eight metres on to a paved floor. Adverse weather meant there was a need to make the dormer extension water tight which involved working in the unprotected area of the roof.

His fall was broken by a plastic children’s playhouse. The worker suffered a traumatic brain injury, bruising, and damage to his left arm.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffolding erected on the site did not extend fully across the intended area of works and did not provide a protective area along the edge under where the operative was working. Mr Riley, the principal contractor, failed to ensure suitable and sufficient measures were in place to prevent persons falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

James D Riley trading as JD Riley of Fox and Hounds House, Tockwith Road, Long Marston, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has received an eight-month sentence suspended for 2 years along with a compensation order for £5000 and ordered to pay £2000 in costs

After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson commented: “Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.

“In this case, by putting in place measures to prevent falls from the roof edge by providing a scaffold platform under the area of works, could have removed the danger of falling.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise.
  2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at:
  3. HSE news releases are available at

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