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CLIENT FAILED TO MONITOR WORK OF MINOR CONTRACTOR

Fall through fragile roof exposes client management deficiencies

Parts production firm, Lupton and Place Ltd, of Burnley have been prosecuted after a workman escaped with his life after falling through a fragile roof at their factory on 23 September 2010.

Magistrates heard how the company, which employs some 150 people, allowed the contractor to work along a section of the roof without means to prevent a fall. The 67-year-old man was fixing a leak on the roof when he lost his balance, stepped backwards and fell through one of the roof panels. He escaped injury after landing on a machine cover more than 4m metres below.

Nothing done to monitor or control work of contractor

Lupton and Place Ltd admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of workers. The company, which produces parts for the automotive, defence and electronics industries, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £6,250 in prosecution costs on 11 August 2011.

Speaking after the hearing, the investigating inspector at HSE, Matt Lea, said:

“The contractor had been employed by the firm for more than 30 years, but nothing was done to monitor or control the work he was doing. A company the size of Lupton and Place should have requested method statements and risk assessments from him to make sure the work could be done safely.

It would have been much more sensible to use a cherry picker to fix the leak, instead of allowing someone to walk along the roof and work on the fragile surface. The handyman was very lucky to come away from the incident with just bruising. He could easily have suffered a major injury or even been killed in a fall of that distance.”

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