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FIRM FINED AFTER FAILING TO HEED EARLY ‘WARNING’

Workman fell 4m during work on flat roof decking operations  

Murdoch Mackenzie Construction Limited has been fined after a workman was seriously injured when he fell more than 4m from the flat roof of a single storey extension in February 2011.

He fell over an unprotected edge whilst walking backwards spreading out polythene sheeting on the flat roof. The workman suffered serious injury including a fractured collar bone and bruising to his right lung. 

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard (19 August) that HSE investigators found a total lack of edge protection or any other means to prevent falls from height along the roof edge where the worker fell. 

The scaffolding had not been extended around the full roof edge to allow patio doors to be fitted. However, the company failed to ensure the scaffold was erected after doors were installed.

Earlier incident failed to trigger improvement

Murdoch Mackenzie Construction Limited, of Coursington Road, Motherwell, Lanarkshire was fined £13,400 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Graham Mitchell, said:

“This was an entirely avoidable incident. This employee sustained serious injury from which he is still recovering.

Murdoch McKenzie Construction was subject to enforcement action in 2010 after another of its employees fell from a flat roof house extension on which he was working. Although that worker escaped serious injury the company should have taken that incident as a clear signal that it needed to improve its safety procedures and monitor their implementation.

Just three days after the incident in Ardrossan an attempt was made to provide edge protection by fitting wooden hand rails along one edge which was clearly too late to be of any use to the injured worker.

The company was already using scaffolding, so it would have been straightforward and relatively inexpensive to have planned the work and stopped anyone going onto the roof until scaffolding had been continued along the unprotected edge.

Falls from height remain one of the most common reasons for injuries and even fatalities at work and it is extremely fortunate that this employee survived such a fall.”

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