Roof fall highlights range of safety failings

A worker falling through a roof has led to prosecutions for two construction firms over a range of safety failings.

WW Martin Ltd, of Dane Park Road in Ramsgate, was fined £10,000 after it admitted one breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was also told to pay £3,588 in costs.

Brandclad Ltd, based at Orchard Business Centre in North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells, was ordered to pay a fine of £7,000 and £3,588 in costs after pleading guilty to the same offences.

Fell two metres

The incident happened on October 4, 2012 when the employee, a 46-year-old man from Tunbridge Wells, fell through the roof of a food packaging firm after losing his balance.

The worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, fell nearly two metres onto another roof, breaking his rib and left wrist in the process.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated and decided to prosecute the two companies.

Magistrates in Canterbury were told that WW Martin had hired Brandclad to fix leaks on the premises of the food company in Tunbridge Wells.

Brandclad sent WW Martin a risk assessment before starting the work, which highlighted the fragile roof and said that workers would be given harnesses and work on platforms with with handrails to minimise the risk of accidents.

Serious safety failings

But the HSE found that the roofers worked on platforms without handrails for the whole six weeks the repair work was being carried out.

The court heard that when the roof fall happened, work was suspended for 10 days but conditions remained nearly unchanged – the only difference was that new platforms were brought in which sat better in the troughs of the roof sheets.

Handrails and harnesses were never used by Brandclad, and WW Martin, which was supposed to monitor Brandclad’s work, did not take any action either.

Both firms said they had considered to implement fall prevention measures but decided not to do so because they were concerned about the strength of the cold store roof.

Make a claim

If you have suffered an injury at work and believe you may be eligible for compensation, get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline.

We have vast experience when it comes to claiming personal injury compensation following falls at work.

Source: Kent Live

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