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CONTRACTOR FINED OVER FALL THROUGH OPENING

Young workman survives 7m fall on timber frame home

Blackflair Ltd has been prosecuted after a young worker fractured his back in 7m fall through an unprotected opening.

Daniel Thorley, aged 25, was working on the roof of a new three-storey home Wales when he fell and suffered spinal injuries which left him unable to work for more than a year.

Cardiff Magistrates heard that Mr Thorley was constructing a block wall on the timber-framed structure when it began to rain and a colleague asked him to lend a hand to waterproof the flat roof.

A window was in the process of being fitted to the roof at the time. He was laying and fixing the polythene when he stepped backwards and fell into the window opening to the ground floor landing on the concrete slab.

HSE investigators found the opening was not covered nor safety measures beneath to mitigate a fall. The work had not been properly planned by Blackflair Ltd and insufficient measures had been put in place to reduce the risk of workers falling through the roof.

Accident waiting to happen caused serious injury

Blackflair Ltd, of Four Elms Road, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £1,137 in costs.

In his sentencing remarks, District Judge Bodfan Jenkins, said:

“This was an accident waiting to happen and in the circumstances caused serious injuries. The lack of a risk assessment and supervision were the underlying causes”

HSE Inspector Liam Osborne, speaking after the hearing, said:

“Mr Thorley was badly injured and has suffered severe pain for a prolonged time, but he could have been killed.

The risks could have been much reduced if measures such as guard rails had been installed around the hole or a temporary crash deck structure placed underneath. Airbags or ‘bean bags’ commonly used in the construction industry could have been placed to cushion any fall.

Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and the risks are well-known in the construction industry. It is crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and that sufficient measures are put in place to protect staff from the dangers involved.”

 

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