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    SCHOOL SKYLIGHT OPENING LEFT UNPROTECTED

    Contractor failed to carry out effective planning for safety 

    W Swindells & Son (Roofing) Ltd has been fined after a worker sustained severe injuries when he fell through a primary school roof in Chorley, Lancs. HSE investigators found the firm failed to put measures in place to prevent workers falling through skylights.

    The 51-year-old workman suffered fractures to his spine, breastbone and ribs and narrowly avoided being paralysed. He was in hospital for two months and will never be able to return to work due to the extent of his injuries. His wife has also had to give up work to care for him.

    Leyland Magistrates heard the firm were contracted to replace the roof on the school on Hornchurch Drive in Chorley. The skylights were removed and covered in roof felted before another team installed new tiles. The workman stepped backwards onto the unsupported felt over a skylight opening and fell 3m to the floor below.

    Simply fitting plywood over openings would have prevented accident

    W Swindells & Son (Roofing) Ltd, of Hill School Road in St Helens, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £3,153 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 on 13 September 2013.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Chris Hatton said:

    “The worker could easily have been killed when he fell through the roof and will be affected by his injuries for the rest of his life.

    If the company had taken the simple measure of fitting pieces of plywood over the holes then his injuries could have been avoided, but it failed to properly plan the work and anticipate the dangers.

    Sadly these types of incidents are all too common in the construction industry and firms need to do more to look after the safety of people working at height.”

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