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ROOF CLEANING ENDED IN SKYLIGHT FALL

HGV driver ‘doubling’ as roof cleaner suffers serious injury

Erith Haulage Company Limited has been fined £215,000 after an employee fell 4.5m through a fragile sky light onto a concrete floor whilst cleaning a roof at the company premises at Anchor Bay Wharf in Erith, Kent.

Southwark Crown Court heard that the cleaning was being undertaken by two HGV drivers at the request of the company driver foreman over the weekend 17 and 18 January 2015.

A MEWP was hired for the work but when one of the drivers could not reach a section of the roof from the MEWP he stood on the metal roof. Dirty skylights were located in strips over the portion of roof, making them a similar colour to the roof.

The driver noticed a section of roof left uncleaned and whilst walking along a section of the roof he fell through a skylight falling 4.5m to the floor below.

Firm failed in planning and supervision

HSE found the company failed to ensure the work was properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

The court heard that the drivers had not received training regarding the use of the MEWP, there was no edge protection in place nor covers over the rooflights and / or fall arrest systems e.g. safety netting.

The injured workman spent a month in hospital having sustained significant injuries including a fracture to the base of his skull, multiple facial fractures, and whiplash.

  • Erith Haulage Company Limited of Erith House, Queen Street, Erith, Kent pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations 2005, was fined £215,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £10,622.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Megan Carr said:

“This easily preventable incident resulted in life changing injuries to this man. I want this case to raise awareness within the industry and amongst companies in general, that proper planning and operation of work at height is imperative.

This case highlights the very serious consequences that may arise from oversight.”

 

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