A farming family in south west Wales has been fined after a roof worker tragically fell to his death.
Ronald Clarke, 59, of Whitland, fell 15 feet through the fragile roof of a cowshed while carrying out work at Rhyd Sais Farm, Talgarreg, near Llandysul, on 23 July 2010.
He was rushed to hospital following the horrific work accident but died a short time later as a result of his injuries.
Farm owners John Evans, his wife Glenys and his mother Margaret Evans were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to ensure work on their property was managed in a safe manner.
Mr Clarke was working with his sons Bobby Joe and Acer on cowsheds at the farm, all of which had fibre cement roofs.
One shed had a sign reading “Danger – Fragile Roof. Use Crawler Boards.” But Mr Clarke had limited reading skills and may have failed to understand it.
All three of them were standing on the unsupported fibre cement sheet roof on the day of the incident, using a pressure washer and trowels to remove moss when the section beneath Ronald Clarke gave way.
HSE inspectors concluded there was no evidence of adequate planning for the work, while the Evans family failed to ensure the competence of the workers.
Mr Clarke, who was registered sick and not in full time employment, did not have any evidence of training, qualifications or expertise in roof work.
Working at height
Unfortunately, serious accidents involving working at height are commonplace every day across the UK.
Employers must ensure that all work at height is properly planned and supervised at all times and develop a plan for emergencies and rescue.
If they fail to do so, then victims may have a case to claim for personal injury compensation – something Accident Advice Helpline can assist with.
John Evans, on behalf of a partnership consisting of John, Glenys and Margaret Evans, of Rhyd Sais Farm, Talgarreg, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 in costs.
Date Published: May 14, 2014
Author: David Brown