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CDM PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR LACKED EXPERIENCE

PC prosecuted alongside other contractors over fall risk and injury

Three companies have been fined after a worker fell over 7m through a fragile roof which was being replaced in November 2014.k

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Rafal Myslim was standing on the fragile roof when the asbestos sheeting gave way and he to the concrete floor blow, hitting a number of pipes within the building as he fell. Fall arrest safety netting or other protective equipment was not provided and he suffered a hematoma on the brain.

HSE investigators found three companies at fault and explained to the court tha Dengie Crops Ltd contracted Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd, an agricultural machinery supplier, to help the company replace their roof.

Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd lacked appropriate experience and subcontracted the work to Balsham (Buildings) Ltd who worked out how the roof replacement should take place. Balsham subsequently subcontracted the roof replacement work to Strong Clad Ltd.

Post incident – opening where Mr Myslim fell

Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd were unable to act effectively in their role as CDM Principal Contractor because of their inexperience of working in construction. The company could not effectively oversee Balsham (Buildings) Ltd who had highlighted the risk of a fall.

Relied too heavily on verbal briefings

None of the parties involved put in place safety measures for 40% of the roof which was not protected with fall arrest safety netting below. The parties relied too heavily on the verbal briefings to workers regarding where the netting was situated rather than putting in place effective safety measures for the whole roof.

  • Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd – of Ulting, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined £360,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000
  • Balsham (Buildings) Ltd – of Balsham, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000
  • Strong Clad Ltd – of Castle Hedingham, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000

HSE inspector Adam Hills said:

“The dangers of working on fragile roofs are well documented. Every year too many people are killed or seriously injured due to falls from height while carrying out this work.

Work at height requires adequate planning, organisation and communication between all parties. This incident was entirely preventable and Mr Myslim is lucky to be alive.”

 

Pre incident – How the equipment was moved across roof

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