Kent building firm fined after worker falls through garage roof
A Kent building maintenance company has been fined for safety failings after a 39-year-old worker suffered brain injuries and was left partially deaf after he fell through a fragile garage roof at a site in Bexley in January 2012.
The worker, a Bulgarian national living in Hornchurch, also fractured his shoulder and lost his peripheral vision as a result of the incident. While being treated in hospital, he contracted MRSA and has not yet been able to return to work.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard last month that he was carrying out repair work to a corrugated garage roof as a self-employed builder for Bexley based Platinum Property Maintenance Ltd when the accident occurred.
While clearing moss and debris from the roof with a colleague, the fragile corrugated sheeting gave way and he fell nearly three metres to the concrete floor below.
The HSE investigation found that no safety equipment, such as harnesses, scaffolding or boards had been provided by the firm to prevent a fall. It also discovered that a risk assessment had not been carried out, no documented system of work was in place for roof repairs and there was a lack of adequate supervision. Had these measures been in place, the accident could have been avoided.
Platinum Property Maintenance Ltd was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Ian Shearring said: “Work at height is inherently fraught with risk, and falls remain the single biggest cause of deaths and serious injury in the construction industry.
“The worker in this case suffered life-changing injuries, but it could easily have resulted in death. It is also fortunate that a colleague who was on the roof with him was not injured.
“This incident could have been prevented had the defendant put in place effective arrangements to ensure the risks were managed and workers were protected.”