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CLIENT PROSECUTED OVER FRAGILE ROOF FALL

Company failed to plan for high risk work on fragile dairy shed roof

Martin Dairy Ltd of St Mabyn has been prosecuted after a self-employed workman was severely injured after falling 5m through a shed roof in Cornwall. He  suffered a broken jaw, damaged eye socket and broken arm.

The 24 year-old workman was engaged to help remove fibre cement roof sheets from a shed at Park Farm, near Bodmin on 12 July 2011. Magistrates heard that no plans had been made for the work. There was a fragile warning sign on the shed and and some “inadequate crawling boards”.

Absence of safety nets or a crash deck

Martin Dairy Ltd of St Mabyn pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £1,033 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Georgina Speake, said:

“There was no assessment of the state of the fragile roof and no written plan of works for the demolition, which is required by law.

Martin Dairy did not provide proper equipment to do the job. Although there were crawling boards to allow safe access to the roof, these were not wide enough, increasing the risk of someone having to walk on the roof. There was also a complete absence of measures to reduce the risks of serious injuries in the event of a fall, such as safety nets or a crash deck.

This incident could so easily have led to a fatality and could have been prevented with proper planning. Falls from height are one of the most common causes of fatalities and serious injury in both the construction and agricultural industries, which continue to remain two of the most high risk industries in which to work.”

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