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GUTTER CLEANING OPERATIONS END IN ROOFLIGHT FALL

Workman being treated for the psychological effects of fall incident

A.R. Berry Design and Build Ltd of Somerset has been fined after a worker fell 6m from a roof in south-west London.

Wayne Bird, aged 28, was cleaning leaves from the gulleys of a building in Feltham on 18 January 2011 when stepped on a fragile rooflight, which broke, sending him crashing through to the concrete floor below.

Mr Bird suffered fractures and severe tendon damage and is receiving on-going medical treatment. He is being treated for the psychological effects of the incident and has been unable to return to work.

Westminster Magistrates heard (22 Oct) the company failed to plan the work properly and did not train their workers to work at height. There was no edge protection in place and, although there were running lines on the roof, the lines were not being used as part of a safe system of work.

Neglect of safe working at height has devastated life of young man

A.R. Berry Design and Build Ltd of Minehead, Somerset, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £5000 and ordered to pay £8000 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Zahir Agha, said:

“The dangers of working at height are well-known in the construction industry, as are the measures available to minimise risk and to protect employees.

There is no excuse for the safety failings made by A.R. Berry Design and Build. Their neglect of safe working at height has devastated a young man’s life.

By planning the work properly, giving their workers sufficient training and monitoring activity, this fall could have been prevented. A.R.Berry should have ensured staff had the right personal protective equipment and been trained in its use.

There is a much guidance available on working at height and support for firms to assess risks and safely plan work.”

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