Engineering company hit with fine after man installing bird deterrent spikes fell from roof

An engineering company has been fined after one of its employees fell through a roof while installing bird deterrent spikes.

On 13 May 2020, a man working for Craven and Nicholas (Engineering) Ltd on St John’s Road in Boston, stepped onto a fragile roof surface and fell six metres through it – suffering serious injuries to his head and left arm.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that this task was not part of the normal work for employees of the company and they had not properly risk assessed and planned the work at height.

The lack of planning meant that reasonably practicable and recognised control measures that could have prevented the man falling from height, such as the use of purpose designed access equipment and over-boarding of fragile roof surfaces, had not been implemented.

At Lincoln Magistrates Court on Wednesday 21 September, Craven and Nicholas (Engineering) Ltd of St Johns Road in Boston pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  They were fined £14,000 and also ordered to pay £6,541.80 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Tim Nicholson said: “Where work at height cannot be avoided, it should be properly planned, adequately supervised and carried out in a safe manner using appropriate equipment.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.

“There is a significant amount of guidance available to help companies protect employees when working at height on the HSE website.”

Notes to editor:

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.            Further guidance about working at height and the regulations involved can be found at Working at height: Health and Safety: Working at height (

4.            HSE news releases are available at