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DUCTWORK INSTALLATION LED TO FRAGILE ROOF FALL

Workman falls through roof on way to work area

Eastern Hardware Ltd from Lowestoft, Norfolk has today been ordered to £6k in fines/costs after a workman fell through a fragile roof whilst installing air conditioning ducting at in April 2008 when he fell a metre through a fragile roof.

The injured workman landed on internal steel duct work and suffered significant bruising as a result.

Investigation revealed a number of failings

The HSE investigation found that the company had failed to:

  • provide adequate information, instruction and training for working at height;
  • undertake suitable and sufficient risk assessment;
  • implement safe systems of work for the job;
  • recognise that there was a fragile roof; and
  • provide suitable work at height equipment.

Incident could have proved fatal

HSE Inspector, Julie Jarvey said: “Mr Garrod received significant injuries following this incident, causing him to be absent from work for several weeks.

Had he not landed on the internal duct work, the fall could have proved fatal. This case highlights the need for companies to do everything possible to minimise the risk employees face when working at height.

HSE provides plenty of advice and guidance for employers on how to keep their workers safe while working at height.”

Comment

This incident highlights that falls through fragile roofs and rooflights often involve persons who are not carrying out work to the roof itself. Non-roofing contractors may be less aware of the hazard compared to specialist companies.

The project client must ensure visiting contractors are aware of the hazard and that both client and contractor have effective arrangements in place. The client has duties under CDM 2007. However, it appears the client was not prosecuted in this instance.    

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