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SOFT LANDING SYSTEM REMOVED WHILST RISK REMAINED

Principal contractor prosecuted for premature removal of fall mitigation system

Stokes Evans Developments Limited of Leicester has been fined after a 19-year-old joiner was injured when he fell from the roof of a new home on a housing development.

He was fitting wooden batons between roof trusses when he fell over 2.5m to the first floor in November 2011. He suffered a fractured vertebra and was off work for two months.

HSE investigators found that the principal contractor had installed fall mitigation (‘air bags’) on the first floor when the roof trusses were initially installed. However, the the bags removed before the trusses and supporting batons were fully fixed in place.

Incident preventable by simply leaving air bags in place

Stokes Evans Developments Limited of Arnesby pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22(1)(a) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for “not doing enough to prevent the fall”. The firm was fined the firm £500 and ordered it to pay costs of £850.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Tony Mitchell said:

“This incident could have been prevented simply by leaving the air bags in place until the work was complete, rather than removing them and putting them back in storage.

Installing roofs is a high risk activity and builders should not become complacent about ensuring that fall protection, in whatever form, is provided throughout the work.

Although the immediate cause of this incident was the lack of fall protection, there is also an underlying cause – Stokes Evans Developments Limited failed to adequately monitor and control work in line with risk assessments and method statements.”

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