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    CONTRACTOR PROSECUTED AFTER INGORING KNOWN RISK

    Workman survives fall through fragile asbestos cement roof with serious injury

    A contractor has been prosecuted after a workman fell more than 5m through a fragile fibre cement roof on an industrial building in Brighton. Casual employee, Louis Mitchell aged 22, suffered severe injuries when he fell during roof repairs on 14 October 2010.

    Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard the workmen were using scaffold boards as crawling boards when Mr Mitchell fell head first through the fragile roof to the concrete floor below. He ‘twisted’ during the fall and therefore landed on shoulder. This helped him survive the fall.

    Nevertheless, Mr Mitchell fractured his neck suffered four broken ribs, broke two vertebrae in his lower back, and punctured his lung. He also broke his collar bone.

    Defendant well aware of precautions required

    Sole trader, Andrew Hyder, of Norwich Drive, Brighton pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at Brighton Magistrates’ Court, on 17 February 2011. Today Mr Hyder was fined a total of £2,400 and ordered to pay costs of £2,478.60.

    Mr Hyder failed to ensure work at height on the fragile roof was carried out safely with suitable equipment. No precautions were in place to prevent Mr Mitchell from falling through the roof.

    HSE Inspector Russell Beckett said:

    “The dangers of working on fragile roofs are very clear yet companies and individuals continue to take risks and cut corners. Mr Hyder was well aware of the precautions he should have taken but decided to ignore them.

    Falls from height are the major cause of workplace fatalities. This case should serve as a warning to others that if you work without the right equipment and put workers at risk, you will end up in court.”

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