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FARMER FINED OVER FRAGILE ROOFLIGHT DEATH

Repair to dairy roof carried out without proper fall prevention measures

Roy Griffin, partner in TRD Griffin and Son Partnership, has been prosecuted after an employee died carrying out unplanned and unsupervised repair work on a dairy roof when he fell through a fragile rooflight in October 2010.

The court heard that William Luscombe (aged 65) was lifted to the roof in the “bucket of a telehandler” to carry out repairs. During the work he fell 3m through a fragile rooflight to the concrete floor below, sustaining serious head injuries. He was airlifted to Hospital in Plymouth but later died of his injuries.

HSE investigators found that the work had not been planned despite a sign at the site which warned of a fragile roof on the dairy.

Fragile roof work must be planned and safety equipment used

Roy Griffin, of Willsworthy Farm, North Tamerton, Holsworthy pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Exeter Crown Court fined Roy Griffin, a partner in TRD Griffin and Son Partnership, a total of £5,000 and ordered him to pay £8,800 in costs, in the case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Georgina Speake, said:

“Mr Luscombe, although an experienced herdsman, did not have any training for working on roofs and was working without supervision. No equipment was provided which could have prevented or mitigated the effects of a fall, such as safety nets or suitable boarding.

Although crawling boards were present on the farm, they had not been used and were too narrow to provide effective safe access on the roof. The use of a telehandler bucket was also an inappropriate way to gain access to the roof itself.

Falls through roofs are all too common and can result in serious or even fatal injuries. Work must be properly planned and appropriate safety equipment provided to minimise the risks involved.”

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