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FIRM FINED FOLLOWING FALL THROUGH FRAGILE ROOF

Work near fragile roof in glasshouse valley gutter not properly planned

Westland Nurseries (Offenham) Ltd has been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious head injuries and fractured his hand when he fell through a glasshouse roof on 4 December 2009.

Worcester Magistrates’ Court heard how the 21-year-old man was injured when he fell 3m whilst cleaning a valley gutter between two roofs on a glasshouse. He was unable to work for three months after the incident.

HSE investigators found that no measures had been taken to prevent workers falling from the glasshouse roofs and the company did not “understand the risks involved when working at height”. The injured man had been ‘trained’ by an employee who was not trained in working at height himself.

Suitable precautions spelt out in HSE guide

Westland Nurseries (Offenham) Ltd, of Ferry Lane, Offenham, Evesham, pleaded guilty today to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £6,835 costs.

Example of safe working

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Chris Gregory said:

“Every year, people are seriously injured as a result of falling through glasshouse roofs onto wires, hooks, staging or the ground, and from being cut by glass. The vast majority of these incidents can be avoided with proper planning.

Companies must make sure they understand the risks involved in working at height and take suitable measures to prevent workers from falling, such as installing lightweight balancing frames.

It is unacceptable that Westland Nurseries (Offenham) Ltd failed to do this and a man was seriously injured as a result.”

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