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LEADING FACILITIES SERVICES FIRM FINED OVER FRAGILE FALL

Risk assessment would have avoided ‘life-changing’ injuries

Morrison Facilities Services Ltd has been prosecuted after a Nottingham worker suffered serious neck and back fractures when he fell almost 2.5 metres through a fragile roof in July 2010.

The 49 year old employee needed to wear a body and neck brace for three months after falling head first through an outhouse roof. Nottingham magistrates heard (28 August) that the work was not properly planned, supervised or carried out in a safe manner by trained staff.

Two workers were replacing cement sheets on a fragile, flat roof of a single storey outhouse. One man accessed the roof via the top section of a triple extension ladder placed across the roof. His colleague worked from the bottom section of the ladder which rested against a wall.

During the work a roof sheet started to ‘collapse’ but was left still hanging from the roof. The worker below hung on to the section whilst the man went to leave the roof. Whilst going back down the ladder on the roof he placed his hand on the collapsed sheet and head first to the concrete floor below.

Work should have been done by trained and supervised staff

Morrison Facilities Service Ltd, of Tannochside Park, Uddingston, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,452

After the hearing HSE Inspector Nic Rigby said:

“Work at height carries significant risk and must be properly planned, particularly when it involves fragile roof surfaces.

This incident has left a man with life-changing injuries yet it could have been avoided if a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had been carried out. This would have identified the need for this work to have been properly supervised and carried out by trained staff.

The employee spent several months after the incident not knowing when he would be able to return to work or when life would return to normal”.

Comment

Falls through fragile roofs are a persistent cause of fatal injuries in construction. The HSE board has recently considered plans for publishing simple guidance aimed at encouraging those repairing fragile roofs to adopt safe systems of work which avoid unsafe access.

The guidance will advocate access from a tower scaffold or mobile elevating work platform from underneath the roof and will be targeted at commercial clients (such as those managing industrial estates) as well as contractors.

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One Response to “LEADING FACILITIES SERVICES FIRM FINED OVER FRAGILE FALL”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 7th NOVEMBER 2012 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] LEADING FACILITIES SERVICES FIRM FINED OVER FRAGILE FALL […]