Self-employed painter and decorator fined after employee falls through fragile roof

A painter and decorator has been fined after an employee stepped off a working platform and fell two and a half metres through the fragile roof of a carport. 

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that on 6 July 2018, sole trader Neil Beattie and an employee were undertaking the removal of a wasps’ nest at a bungalow in Daviot, Oldmeldrum before painting the gable-end soffits above a carport. They climbed a ladder on to the roof and walked along a structural beam to stand on a working platform in the middle of the carport roof. When the wasps’ nest was disturbed the employee stepped off the working platform and fell through the fragile, plastic roof of the carport. He sustained head and back injuries resulting in permanent disfigurement.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Neil Beattie Limited failed to ensure that the work at height was properly planned and so far as reasonably practicable, safe. His employee was required to walk across a fragile roof to access the working platform which was not fitted with appropriate edge protection.

Neil Beattie of Nether Davah Place, Inverurie, Aberdeen pleaded guilty to breaching the Regulation 4(1)(a) and (c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £2,650.00.

Speaking after the hearing, “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height on fragile roofs are well known. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

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
  4. For guidance please visit Fragile roofs: Safe working practices GEIS5  and Health and Safety in Roofwork