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DENTIST FINED AFTER RECEPTIONIST ROOFLIGHT FALL

Lunchtime domed rooflight ‘seat’ identified in earlier risk assessment 

Integrated Dental Holdings Ltd has been prosecuted after a dentist receptionist fell more than 3m through a roof light while spending her lunch break on the flat roof of the surgery in March 2009.

During a two-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court the jury heard that the woman sat on the domed roof light not realising it was fragile. The plastic of the roof light failed under load and she fell to the floor injuring her back, shoulder, knee and neck.

The jury heard that at least five other workers had used the roof and were at risk of falling from the roof edge or through the roof lights. The flat roof was easily reached using a door on the first floor of the main building. The door was locked with the key was hanging nearby.

A risk assessment four years earlier had alerted the practice to the risk and warned that the roof lights were fragile and that no protection was in place to prevent falls from the open roof edges. The owner failed to act on advice to remove the keys to the roof access door and to post ‘no entry’ signs.

Risks can be present in the most unlikely work environments

Integrated Dental Holdings of Sunset Business Park in Kearsley, Bolton, a leading dental group in the UK, was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £18,500 with £71,632.79 costs.

HSE Inspector Mark Welsh said after the hearing:

“Falls from height are the commonest cause of fatal injuries in the workplace and are also responsible for a large percentage of the most serious occupational injuries.

While many falls take place in manufacturing and construction, the risks can be present in the most unlikely work environments and employers should assess the risks and then take the steps necessary to implement the controls needed to safeguard their employees.

You don’t have to fall from a great height to lose your life. It’s wrong that workers like the one in this case suffer serious preventable injuries because simple steps have not been taken to manage obvious workplace risks.

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One Response to “DENTIST FINED AFTER RECEPTIONIST ROOFLIGHT FALL”

  1. Dental Links and Things, 5-14-2012 « Atlas Resell Management Says:

    […] Dentist Fined After Receptionist Rooflight Fall […]