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ROOF REFURBISHMENT ROOFLIGHT FALL

Further HSE warning on the dangers of working on fragile roofs

Webber Trading Ltd, of Burnley has been ordered to pay nearly £9k in fines and prosecutions costs and a director of the company, Jeffrey Robinson, fined £1k following the 7m fall of a workman carrying out roof refurbishment on a Gateshead building in July 2007.

The building owners contracted Webber Trading Ltd to carry out industrial roof repairs which involved fitting steel sheets over the existing fragile plastic roof lights.

The team of four working on the roof included the director Jeffrey Robinson. During the course of the work the workman stepped onto a fragile plastic rooflight and he fell to the warehouse below.

HSE Inspector Martin Smith said: “in 2007-08 more than half (52%) of the workers who died on construction sites worked in refurbishment, repair and maintenance. Of these, 34 were killed following a fall from height during construction work.

The measures which should have been taken in order to prevent this incident happening are straightforward and well documented.”

Comment: Fatal falls through fragile roofs and subsequent legal proceedings appear far too often on our News Desk. In the 1950’s falls through fragile roofs accounted for 10% of construction deaths and that percentage has remained stable. 

We are aware of 5 deaths involving falls through fragile roofs since 1 April 2009 which represents some 30% of construction sector deaths during this accounting year.

All clients procuring roofwork now have a clear CDM 2007 ‘management arrangements’ duty. The incidence of such falls will only reduce if clients take decisive action to implement this duty and work more closely with contractors who must plan, manage and monitor the work.

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One Response to “ROOF REFURBISHMENT ROOFLIGHT FALL”

  1. A LEGAL EAGLE WRITES | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Gateshead Magistrates’ 29.9.09: HSW Act. Serious incident. Fall 7m metres to the warehouse floor, sustaining serious injuries. Fines: Company £6k and Director £1k […]