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    FALL LEAVES WORKMAN UNABLE TO TALK OR MOVE

    Scaffolder fall through fragile roof causes family devastation

    Hemel Hempstead Scaffolding Limited has been fined £110k after a workman suffered life changing injuries when he fell through a fragile roof whilst carrying out scaffolding work in preparation for the installation of solar panels on a roof at Gaddesden Home Farm, Herts in July 2013.

    St Albans Crown Court heard that Stewart Thomas, aged 31 at the time, was placing scaffold boards along the roof ridge when he fell through the fragile roof to the concrete floor 8m below.

    He suffered multiple injuries to his head and neck including a brain stem injury, a punctured lung, broken ribs and a lacerated liver. Mr Thomas is now unable to talk, move or feed himself and requires residential care. After the hearing Stewart’s mother Karen Coffey said:

    “My granddaughters are going to miss out so much on the things they would have done and learnt from Stewart. Since my son Stewart’s accident all our lives have been dramatically changed – hopefully we can try and move forward to make Stewart’s life as best we can with his family close by him.”

    HSE told the court that a risk assessment and method statement had not been prepared for the work. There were no fall protection measures in place, and a lack of appropriate supervision for inexperienced and trainee scaffolders on the site.

    Young father cannot communicate or look after himself

    Hemel Hempstead Scaffolding Limited of Seymour Crescent, Hemel Hempstead pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act, 1974 and were fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £22,596 in costs.

    Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Stephen Manley said:

    “The company’s approach to health and safety was poor. They failed to properly and safely plan the work they were contracted to carry out and failed to supervise inexperienced young workers. The particular works would have been unfamiliar to the team and so the lack of thorough supervision was lamentable.

    As a result of their failings a young father has been left being unable to communicate or look after himself and he will never be able to play with his young daughter.

    When working at height, there is a high likelihood of serious injury or death if safe procedures are not put in place and adequate steps taken to ensure they are followed”.

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