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CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN COMPANY FINED OVER ROOF FALL

Bricklayer fall though unprotected roof opening lands builders in court

Bascomb and Drew Ltd, a construction and design company from Berkshire, has been prosecuted after a bricklayer was seriously injured when he fell 3m through an opening in a flat roof fracturing his pelvis and wrist in November 2011.

The company was building a large house and Guildford Magistrate heard (30 July) that the bricklayer was constructing kitchen walls when the incident occurred. Roof joists were in place and there were two openings for rooflights (covered with blue membrane sheeting) and marked with timbers around the edges.

The bricklayer moved from scaffolding to the roof so he could access the top of a wall he was working on when he slipped and fell through the opening which was obscured by the membrane. He is still unable to return to work as a result of the injuries he sustained.

Openings should have been covered with something more than plastic sheeting

Bascomb and Drew Ltd, of Keephatch Farmhouse, Clover Close, Wokingham, was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £4,662 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Russell Beckett said:

“Falls from height are the biggest cause of injury in construction and those working within the industry should be aware of the dangers and what measures need to consistently taken in order to protect workers.

This incident could have been avoided if the holes in the roof had been covered over with something more substantial than plastic sheeting. This would have taken just a few minutes and would have prevented a man from suffering painful and long-term injuries.”

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