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    Prosecution highlights role of client in preventing fragile roof falls

    Construction client, CW & S Recycling (Geoff Thompson T/A), has been fined alongside the works contractor after a workman fell through a fragile warehouse roof in Poole, Dorset in March 2012.

    Bradley White suffered four fractured bones in his back, a broken hip and pelvis, a shattered femur, four fractures to his left arm, a fractured right wrist and ligament damage. He was in hospital for three weeks and required numerous operations.

    The 27-year-old was employed by Michael Davies to replace the roof on a large industrial unit at W & S Recycling on Nuffield Industrial Estate in Poole, which is owned and occupied by Geoff Thompson.

    Bournemouth Magistrates heard (29 November) that Mr White was walking on the fragile fibre cement roof when his foot went through one of the fragile sheets. He fell through the opening created and landed on the concrete floor some 6m below.

    The prosecutions follow an HSE investigation which revealed that both parties failed to make sure the work could be carried out safely. HSE found no edge protection, safety netting or any other measure in place at the site to prevent a fall or injury.

    Client must be sure of contractor competence

    W & S Recycling  (Geoff Thompson T/A) pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9 of the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 by failing to ensure the arrangements made for managing the project were suitable and was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

    Contractor Michael Davies, of Poole, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in failing to ensure workers were not put a risk. He was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

    Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector James Powell said:

    “The dangers of working at height are well known, yet workers undertaking roof work and building maintenance sometimes die or are permanently disabled because of the poor safety standards and lack of safeguards that still exist among some contractors.

    It is essential that the hazards associated with working at height are recognised and understood by the client who commissions the work. The client must make sure the individual or company they employ is competent to carry out roof work and is aware of the hazards and precautions that need to be taken for the work to be carried out safely.

    Geoff Thompson did not properly asses Mr Davies’ arrangements for health and safety and determine whether he would be able to do the work safely and without risk.

    This prosecution should serve as a reminder to all involved in construction projects, including clients, that they have a legal duty to ensure work at height is properly planned and robust safety precautions are put in place.”


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