Personal injury claim news: Firm fined after back fracture

A construction company has been fined after a worker fell more than four metres through a roof and broke his back.

The 36-year-old man from Monmouth was working on the roof of a barn at Claverdon in Warwickshire when the incident took place on 24 February 2012.

As well as fracturing two vertebrae in his lower back, he suffered a broken wrist and a bruised heel.

Inadequate protection from falls

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted D & R Maintenance Solutions Ltd, of Cross Vane, Penalt, Monmouth, and its managing director John Dunmore after an investigation found workers were given little protection from falls while carrying out the job to fit solar panels to the building.

After treatment for his injuries the man was able to return to work six months later, but is no longer in a construction role and continues to experience restricted movement in his wrist.

Personal injury risk

Given the need for firms to properly assess risks and make sure jobs are completed safely in order to protect workers – reducing the likelihood of personal injury claims – it was found in this case that insufficient checks had been carried out.

At a hearing on November 21, Leamington Spa Magistrates Court was told that the company and its MD were aware the roof was fragile and had verbally warned staff to be careful, but did not ensure the job was properly planned or carried out safely.

Unsuitable equipment was provided for accessing and working on the fragile roof, the HSE found.

The investigators also noted four employees were working unsafely using single scaffold boards and crawl boards without guardrails or harnesses, at times stepping on the roof itself, and no guardrails were installed around the edge of the roof to prevent falls.

In addition there were no measures in place to lessen the consequences of a fall through the fragile roof, such as fall arrest harnesses, netting or soft landing systems.

It was the injured man’s, and another colleague’s, first day at work for the company when the incident occurred and neither had been given proper instruction or training for working at height.

Work at Height Regulations 2005

After pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, D & R Maintenance Solutions Ltd was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £3,357 costs.

John Dunmore, 54, of Cross Vane, Penalt, Monmouth, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

He was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay £3,357 costs.

Anyone seeking specialist legal advice about a personal injury claim or other issues relating to an injury at work can contact Accident Advice Helpline.

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