A chimney sweep suffered a severe injury at work due to safety failings by a Clackmannanshire firm.
Dylan Skelhorn, from Tillicoultry, fell from the chimney stack of a two-storey house in Falkirk back in June 2011.
The 32-year-old was sweeping the chimney for D Henderson Chimney Specialists and Roofers Limited when the work accident occurred.
Mr Skelhorn fell from the top of the stack and slid down the property’s pitched roof. He then tumbled five metres into next-door’s garden.
The personal injuries suffered by the worker included two fractured ribs, a collapsed lung and fractured pelvis.
He had to be hospitalised for five days and receive ongoing pain relief and physiotherapy. Still using crutches, Mr Skelhorn has been unable to return to work and suffers from chronic pain.
Worker not protected
The company was prosecuted on 5 November after it was discovered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that no precautions had been taken to prevent Mr Skelhorn falling off the roof.
Suitable risk assessments had not been conducted and adequate training was not provided by the firm.
A safe system of work for employees sweeping chimneys had not been established, and all these factors combined created an unacceptable risk.
After pleading guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the firm, based in Marshall House, Glenfoot, was fined £20,000.
“This incident was entirely preventable. Falls from height are the biggest cause of death and injury in the workplace, and wherever possible employers should try and avoid the need for working at height,” said HSE Inspector Kerry Elliot, adding that the chimney could have been cleaned from inside the property.
Long-term personal injury
“If it is not possible to avoid working at height then employers must ensure that they provide employees with the necessary equipment to keep them safe. Mr Skelhorn wasn’t provided with any equipment to prevent fall or injury and is still suffering from the effects of his injuries two years later,” she said.
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Date Published: November 9, 2013
Author: David Brown