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SHORT TERM ROOF INSPECTION WORK ENDS IN FALL

Occupier of premises prosecuted after workman falls whilst investigating leak  

Raicam Clutch Ltd has been prosecuted for putting staff at risk when working at height.

An employee was instructed to investigate a leak on a flat roof at the company’s premises on 30 July 2009. Whilst walking across the roof he caught his foot in a trailing cable and fell some 4m to the ground below. He sustained five broken vertebrae and whiplash to his neck. It was four months before he could return to work.

Leamington Spa Magistrates’ Court heard the roof had no guard rails and nothing to hold onto. There was also no fall arrest protection below the roof such as a birdcage scaffold, netting or soft landing bags to protect him from the fall.

Second workman at risk investigating fall

Raicam Clutch Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (as amended) and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £4,952 costs.

HSE Inspector Mark Austin said:

“It is fortunate this incident did not end in a fatality. But as if this was not enough the employer sent a second person onto this section of the roof, under the same conditions, to investigate the initial incident.

This was an entirely foreseeable incident which could have been avoided if Raicam Clutch Ltd had implemented safety precautions accepted within the industry as normal working practices.

Roofing work requires careful planning and assessment of the risks involved. In this case, an employee was working without any protection to prevent him falling which is completely unacceptable.

Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and it’s crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and that sufficient measures are put in place to protect staff from the risks. Clear guidance on working at height is available from HSE.”

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