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MAJOR CAUSE OF FATALITIES LEFT UNCONTROLLED

fragilefallmanFall through rooflight prosecution highlights widespread risk

A building contractor has been fined after a young worker plunged 5m through a barn roof onto a concrete floor causing extensive and permanent injuries. Gethin Bailey, 23, from Anglesey, was dismantling the barn roof when he fell on 13 December 2012.

The court heard that contractor Ian Perkins was engaged to dismantle the disused barn. Mr Bailey was on the fragile roof to cutting through bolt heads securing the roof sheets when a section roof gave way beneath him.

His injuries included broken wrists, an ankle and heel and two fractured vertebrae making it difficult to walk and hold things. He has also been diagnosed with arthritis caused by the fall and has been unable to return to work.

HSE investigators found there was no supervision and that Mr Bailey was not warned him of the dangers of working on a fragile roof and advised how to carry out the job in a safe way.

Fragile roof falls account for fifth of construction deaths

Ian Robyn Perkins, of Lon Twynti, Newborough, near Llanfairpwllgwyngyll pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £775 in costs.

fragilefallmanHSE Inspector Chris Wilcox, speaking after the hearing, said:

“Mr Bailey continues to suffer from severe injuries caused by his needless fall but the consequences could have been even worse. An average of between eight and 12 people die from similar falls through fragile roofs and roof lights every year. They account for almost a fifth of all fatal accidents which result from a fall from height in the construction industry.

It is vital contractors and workers recognise that cement roof sheets are not designed to bear loads. Work should be planned so no-one needs to get onto the roof but if this is necessary, proper safeguards should be put in place, such as perimeter edge protection, safety nets and stagings on the roof to spread the load.

Incidents can be prevented by careful planning and using trained and experienced workers with suitable equipment under a high level of supervision.”

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