Runcorn business park operator fined £13,000 after worker injured in fall

A Runcorn business park operator has been fined £13,000 after a worker fell more than 13 feet through a fragile roof.

The man sustained life-threatening injuries, including a fractured skull and collapsed lung as a result of the fall, which happened while he was carrying out repairs at a premises on The Heath Business and Technology Park on 17 June 2021.

The work had not been properly planned, and risk factors had not been identified and managed.

  • In the five-year period between 2017 and 2022, 174 workers in Great Britain – a quarter of those killed in accidents at work – tragically fell to their death. HSE guidance can be found at: Work at height – HSE.

Nathan Cook, an enforcement lawyer at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), told Warrington Magistrates Court, the man was an employee of SOG Resources Limited. He had been carrying out repairs to a building occupied by Arvia Technology Ltd.

The company had been carrying out the work on the roof for almost three weeks and despite regular checks by the engineering manager, no measures were taken to mitigate the dangers posed by the presence of weaker skylight panels. These parts of the roof should have been covered or had perimeter barriers put in place to prevent access.

The employee was conducting the repair when he tripped and fell through an unprotected skylight, landing on the ground more than 13 feet below. The fall was partially broken by rubber matting on the floor of the building, which may have prevented even more serious injury.

An investigation by HSE found that SOG Limited had failed to take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of workers on the roof.

SOG Resources Limited of The Heath Business & Technical Park, The Heath, Runcorn, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act. The company was fined £13,000 and was ordered to pay £2,666 costs at a hearing at Warrington Magistrates Court on 27 June 2023.

HSE inspector Rose Leese-Weller said: “This was a very serious incident, and it is fortunate nobody was killed as a result.

“This work had been planned for around six months; however, the risk assessments were inadequate.  Work had carried on for three weeks prior to the incident, and the manager had visited, yet no action to prevent the fall through the roof light was taken.”

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 information about the legislation referred to in this case is available.
  3. Further details on the latest HSE news releases is available.
  4. Guidance on working safely at height is available.