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FALL THROUGH ROOF OPENING LANDS IN COURT

Contractor failed to install decking under rooflight openings

D&R Carpentry Ltd has been fined after a worker fractured his skull when he fell through a roof light opening on a Kent construction site in June 2012.

Staines Magistrates heard (20 February) that the injured workman was constructing a flat roof with a number of roof light openings for when he fell through one of the openings some 3m to the ground below.

HSE investigators found there was no measures place to prevent or mitigate a fall, such as safety decking beneath the roof and openings, or a soft landing system.

Magistrates were told company had previously been warned by HSE to consider the risks posed by falls from height at site inspections in January and February 2007 resulting in written advice and a Prohibition Notice.

Essential that work at height is assessed, managed and monitored

D&R Carpentry, of Smallfield Road, Horley, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £4,407 in costs plus a further £5,000 in compensation after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Denis Bodger said:

“Work at height is inherently fraught with risk, and falls remain the single biggest cause of deaths and serious injury in the construction industry.

It is therefore essential that all work at height is properly assessed, managed and monitored to ensure it is carried out safely, and that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent falls and protect workers.

There were clear failings by D&R Carpentry in this regard at the Cobham development, and an employee suffered serious injury as a result. He could easily have been killed or left with life-changing injuries.”

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