A maintenance engineer fell more than three metres through a fragile ceiling after his company failed to implement adequate safety measures.
The man fractured his elbow and ankle in the incident, which happened as he was attempting to mend a faulty shutter door on December 21st 2012.
Accident at work
The engineer, who had worked on the same door on other occasions, was attempting to access an electrical control panel in a ceiling void. A colleague held a ladder as he accessed the void before he then made his way across the ceiling panels, which were connected to the timber joists, on a wooden ply board.
He carried out the repairs to the control panel and checked the door was working before he fell through the panels and on to the ground.
Security Door Systems Ltd, of Essex, was fined £6,000 by Basildon magistrates and ordered to pay £440 in costs over the incident in Dunton.
The Health and Safety Executive, which brought the prosecution, said it was a matter of luck that an accident had not occurred before and that the engineer did not suffer more serious injuries.
Risk assessment failure
It found that the company had not carried out the appropriate risk assessment for undertaking work at height on the site.
Security Door Systems Ltd, of Thurrock Commercial Centre, Purfleet Industrial Park, Aveley, Purfleet, pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
After the incident, the electrical control panel was moved to the ground floor to avoid the need for access to the fragile ceiling.
Falls from height
Corinne Godfrey, HSE inspector, said the company had failed to carry out an adequate risk assessment identifying weaknesses in the ceiling and to put in place measures to prevent falls.
Falls through fragile roofs are quite common and it is the responsibility of employers to ensure appropriate work at height measures are in place to ensure the safety of staff, she added.
If you have suffered an accident or injury at work and are considering a work accident claim, Accident Advice Helpline has experts on hand to advise you.
Date Published: October 14, 2014
Author: David Brown