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DIRECTOR FINED AFTER FACTORY ROOF FALL

Fall through factory roof lands company director in dock

 

The director of a West Midlands manufacturing company has been fined after an employee fell through a fragile rooflight. The incident occured when the director and an employee were repairing the factory roof. 

Risk not properly assessed and precautions not taken

Adam Stephen Walker, a director of Steven Walker and Sons Ltd, was fined £10k and ordered to pay £5k in prosecution costs after an employee suffered extensive bruising to his back when he fell through a rooflight onto machinery below. 

West Bromwich Magistrates heard that in May 2009 Adam Walker and an employee began repair work on a section of the factory roof. 

The risk was not assessed and inadequate measures were taken to prevent falls through the roof apart from a small ‘plank of wood’ for the employee to kneel on when making the repairs. 

When the employee returned later to examine the repair work he fell through the rooflight. 

Director exposed second employee at risk after incident

Later that day Mr Walker took a second employee on to the roof to replace the damaged skylight, despite the fragility of the roof. 

SAFER WORKING FROM BELOW

HSE Inspector, Amarjit Kalay, said: “The failure of the company and Mr Walker to make adequate provisions for working on the roof left an  employees with serious injuries, and could easily have cost him his life.

“This incident could easily have been prevented by undertaking a suitable risk assessment and by using the necessary equipment to prevent a fall through the fragile roof. 

Comment:

Falls through fragile roofs and rooflights remain one of the most commom causes of death during building repair work. 

Careful assessment of the risk is required coupled with effective means of preventing and / or arresting a fall. 

Replacement of fibre cement roofsheets and plastic rooflights can now be carried out with greater safety by working below using a mobile elevating work platform.

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