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    Firm fined over rooflight fall despite assessment provided to client

    MD Construction Ltd has been fined after a joiner fell 6m through a fragile rooflight at a factory in Leeds in November 2010 whilst removing ventilation turrets from a warehouse roof.

    The workman was sitting astride the roof ridge and reaching for slates to cover an opening left by one of the turrets. His knee went through a nearby rooflight causing him to fall fall to the factory floor below. He escape with a broken elbow and bruising.

    Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard that the firm had been contracted by the factory occupier to remove five roof turrets to prevent water entering the warehouse.

    The company identified there were potentially fragile rooflights where the work would be taking place and provided the client with a risk assessment for the work. However, the court was told by HSE that no safety measures were put in place. 

    Falls through fragile materials “all too common”

    MD Construction (Bradford) Ltd was today (4 Oct) fined £5,000 with £15,000 towards costs after being found guilty of a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

    After the hearing HSE inspector Martin Hutton said:

    “Falls through fragile materials during roof works are an all too common occurrence and the risks are well known in the construction-related industries. While the injuries in this case were not severe, it is only by sheer good fortune that no one was killed.

    A few simple precautions by MD Construction Ltd could have prevented this incident from happening in the first place. Where work near fragile roof materials is necessary, boards or barriers of sufficient strength should be used to cover the area and prevent people or materials falling through.

    Work at height carries significant risk. This prosecution should serve as a reminder of the essential need to properly plan, supervise and carry out these tasks safely.”

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