Faults by three separate firms led to a serious fall from height incident, a court has heard.
The Essex-based companies have all been fined after a man fell 7.5 metres while working on a roof, Chelmsford Crown Court has heard.
Man fell onto concrete floor
Rafal Myslim was walking along a fragile roof at Dengie Crops Ltd in Asheldem. As he did so, a section of asbestos sheeting collapsed sending him to the concrete floor below. Mr Myslim also struck a number of pipes on the way down.
It was found that there was no safety netting in place or any other protective equipment that could have prevented the accident at work. Mr Myslim suffered a hematoma on the brain in the accident.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that three companies were at fault.
Dengie Crops had contracted Ernest Doe & Sons, an agricultural machinery supplier, to replace the roof. But this firm didn’t have appropriate experience. So they subcontracted Balsham (Buildings) to work out how the roof replacement should take place. Balsham then subcontracted another firm, Strong Clad Ltd, to perform the replacement.
Ernest Doe didn’t act effectively as a principal contractor as they had no experience of working in construction. This meant they couldn’t effectively oversee Balsham’s plans that had highlighted the risk of a fall.
None of the companies put safety measures in place
None of the companies had put in place safety measures for 40% of the roof that didn’t have netting below. Verbal briefings reminding workers where the netting was were used instead.
Ernest Doe pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined £360,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000. Balsham pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000.
Strong Clad pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000
HSE inspector Adam Hills said: “The dangers of working on fragile roofs are well documented. Every year too many people are killed or seriously injured due to falls from height while carrying out this work.
“Work at height requires adequate planning, organisation and communication between all parties. This incident was entirely preventable and Mr Myslim is lucky to be alive.”
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: February 7, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown