HSE warns of the dangers of working at height after Coventry worker suffers seri

Monday, 23rd Jun '08 at 08:43

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is warning construction companies of the importance of implementing safe systems for working at height. This follows the HSE prosecution of a company after an incident in which a worker was seriously injured.

Eastern Windows Manufacturing Co Ltd, of Booth Street, Handsworth, Birmingham, was (on Tuesday 10 June) fined £5,000 with £1,480 costs by Coventry Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. This is the maximum fine that Magistrates’ Courts can impose for a breach of health and safety regulations.

The court heard that, on 6th September 2005, an employee fell approximately 2.5 metres through a fragile roof whilst working on a job to fit new doors, windows and roof to a single storey extension at Townsend Road, Coventry.  The employee fractured his skull and vertebrae, and is now deaf in one ear and has difficulty walking.

HSE Inspector Stephen Farthing said: "An employee suffered very serious injuries in this in cident. Despite this, the company subsequently sent a second man to work on the same roof without any additional protection from falling.

"Falls from height remain one of the biggest killers of employees and last year, across the country, in the construction industry alone there were 23 workers killed, and 3,409 seriously injured after falling from height.

"Many incidents could be avoided if companies ensured that they had thought through a safe way of tackling a job, provided all necessary protective equipment and ensured workers were fully trained and properly supervised. Precautions that need to be taken to prevent falls are often simple and there is ample free guidance readily available to help companies take the right action."

The Court heard that sufficient measures had not been taken to support or protect anyone from falling through the roof. The Court also heard that several weeks later, another worker came back to the site to remove the old roof and fit a new one, and again climbed onto the roof without adequate fall protection.

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