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FRAGILE ROOF FALL LEAVES WORKER WITH BRAIN INJURY

Building repairs firm prosecuted over woeful lack of basic precautions 

Platinum Property Maintenance Ltd has been fined after a workman suffered life-changing injuries when he fell through a fragile garage roof at a site in Bexley in January 2012.

The 39-year-old man suffered brain injuries and was left partially deaf following the fall at a garage compound in Bexley, Kent. He also fractured his shoulder and lost his peripheral vision as a result of the incident. During treatment in hospital he contracted MRSA and has not yet been able to return to work.

Westminster Magistrate heard (18 December 2013) that he was carrying out repair work to a corrugated garage roof and at the time of the fall was clearing moss and debris from the roof with a colleague. The fragile corrugated sheeting gave way and he fell nearly 3m to the concrete floor below. HSE investigators found:

  • Assessment – a suitable and sufficient risk assessment had not been carried out;
  • Equipment – lack safety equipment e.g. fall arrest, stagings etc provided to prevent a fall;
  • System – no documented system of work was in place for roof repairs; and
  • Supervision – a lack of adequate supervision.

HSE told the court the fall could have been prevented had the risks been properly assessed the work better planned and managed.

Incident could easily have resulted in death

Platinum Property Maintenance Ltd, of The Cooperage, Old Bexley Business Park, Bourne Road, Bexley, Kent, was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Ian Shearring 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.

The worker in this case suffered life-changing injuries, but it could easily have resulted in death. It is also fortunate that a colleague who was on the roof with him was not injured.

This incident could have been prevented had the defendant put in place effective arrangements to ensure the risks were managed and workers were protected.”

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