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Fall Due to Inadequate Planning

Southport company fined after an employee sustained serious injuries when he fell 4m from attempting to repair a bungalow ridge from a conservatory roof.

Instruments & Gauges Electronics Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that the employee was not given suitable equipment to carry out the work safely. Sefton Magistrates’ Court in Bootle, Merseyside, heard that the company specialised in manufacturing and repairing electrical test equipment but that its Managing Director was also the landlord for several homes.

The 60-year-old from Southport, who asked not to be named, fractured his skull and back, and broke several ribs in the incident on 6 March 2014. The employee was asked to repair a broken ridge tile on the roof of a bungalow on Fylde Road in Southport. He used his ladder to reach the flat roof on a conservatory at the back of the property.

The worker then pulled the ladder up on to the conservatory roof and used it to reach the tile at the top of the bungalow roof. He fell around 4m and was found on the ground by the tenant, who called for an ambulance. The employee was in the high dependency unit at the hospital for a week before being transferred to a normal ward, and was off work for 19 weeks as a result of his injuries.

The HSE investigation found the work on the roof had not been planned or supervised and the worker had not been given suitable equipment, such as scaffolding or a harness. The company also failed to report the incident to HSE despite this being a legal requirement when workers suffer a serious injury.

Instruments & Gauges Electronics was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £961 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

“One of the company’s employees has suffered serious injuries that may well affect him for the rest of his life because his employer ignored its legal duty to make sure he stayed safe,” stated Jackie Western, HSE Inspector. “Falls from height are the most common cause of deaths and serious injuries in the construction industry. The work to repair the ridge tile should have been planned properly but instead the employee was allowed to climb up to the roof without suitable equipment.”

 

Caption            Sefton Magistrates’ Court in Bootle, Merseyside, heard details of how poor preparation led to serious injury from a 4m fall.

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