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    FARMERS PROSECUTED OVER FRAGILE ROOF FALL

    Workman suffered multiple fractures during fall during cleaning work

    Father and daughter farmers, James and Elizabeth Reay, have been prosecuted after an employee fell through a fragile barn roof and suffered multiple fractures.

    On 6 August 2010, Stefan Wasilewski, 39, was cleaning the roof of a barn at Ugley Hall Farm near Bishop’s Stortford. He and a co-worker where instructed to stand on scaffold boards placed on the roof from which they brushed the area with brooms.

    The asbestos cement roof gave way and Mr Wasilewski fell 5m onto the concrete floor below. He suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and ribs and was unable to walk for several months.

    Standards for working on fragile roofs well-established

    Elizabeth and James Reay, trading as H R Reay, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Elizabeth Reay was fined £4,000 and James Reay was fined £4,000. They were ordered to pay £2,083.30 in costs to be shared between them.

    After the hearing at Harlow Magistrates’ Court, HSE Inspector Kim Wicks said:

    “Working at height without any safety precautions in place will always put employees at risk. In this case there was an added risk as the surface the men were working on was fragile. Standards for working on fragile roofs are well-established and extensive guidance is available on HSE’s website.

    This incident could easily have been avoided if these had been followed. Falls from height are among the biggest causes of workplace deaths in the UK and the outcome of this incident could have been even more serious.”

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