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SCAFFOLDER FALL THROUGH STORE ROOFLIGHT

Workman survives 10m rooflight fall into open retail store

MWS Scaffolding Services (Mark Wilson T/A), of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, has been ordered to pay over £7.5k in fines and prosecution costs after an employee fell 10m through a rooflight in an open Mothercare store in east London. 

In November 2008 an employee, under the direct supervision and instruction of Mr Wilson, fell whilst fixing scaffolding.

MWS Scaffolding Services was contracted to provide frame scaffolding protection at the store to allow a roofing contractor to gain access to repair leaking roof lights.

The workman survived the fall although he suffered a broken leg, cuts and was unable to work for more than three months.

HSE Construction Inspector, Dominic Elliss, said the:“failure to properly assess these works and then ensure that suitable and sufficient health and safety measures were in place resulted in the serious injury of one of his employees.

The risks and precautions for work near to fragile material are well known with 15 deaths at work in 2005/06 resulting from similar falls.”

Comment:  Falls through fragile rooflights continue to cause fatal and serious injuries with monotonous regularity. This scaffolder is very fortunate. Few construction workers survive a 10m fall.

Clients and contractors should be trying to eliminate work on fragile roofs. For example, where possible rooflights could be replaced from a MEWP working below the roof.

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