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    PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR FAILED TO MANAGE PROJECT

    Double prosecution following fall through fragile roof

    A CDM 2015 Principal contractor and a specialist cladding contractor have been fined over £300k for safety breaches after a worker suffered life changing injuries in January 2016 during construction work at a factory in Mirfield, West Yorkshire.

    Leeds Magistrates heard how a workman was on the factory roof fixing sheet metal cladding and capping to the gable end of an adjoining building.

    It was during this work that he fell through a roof light 9.7m into the active factory area below and incurred multiple fractures.

    Lack of monitoring to ensure the correct equipment used

    HSE investigators found that the scaffold provided was removed prior to the cladding works being completed. Boards with guard rails were the preferred control measure but use of these boards meant that workers could not fix the handrails in situ.

    Fall arrest safety netting had been scheduled to be used in the area of the factory. As the workman fell the top half of his legs struck the top of a storage cage, approximately 2.4m high, before continuing his fall to the floor behind the storage cage.

    • Weiser Construction Ltd (now in liquidation) – of Clark Business Recovery Ltd, York Place, Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and fined £145,000 with £5,046.30 costs.
    • Complete Cladding Systems Ltd – of Newton Cap House, Toronto, Bishop Auckland pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1074 and fined £165,000 with £5,114.49 costs

    After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson commented:

    “Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.

    This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the principal contractor to manage and monitor the works to ensure the correct work equipment was being used.

    This risk was further amplified by the cladding company’s failure to ensure suitable measures were in place to prevent persons falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

     

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