Worker breaks back in roof fall

A construction company has been handed a £6,000 fine after an employee fell through a roof light and suffered severe back injuries.

Brims Construction Ltd, of Austin Boulevard, Quay West Business Park, Sunderland, was also ordered to pay £690 in costs after it admitted a breach of the Regulation 9(2)(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The worker, from Ryhope, who wishes to remain anonymous, was part of a group of employees responsible for the refurbishment of Pearl Assurance House in Newcastle at the time of the incident on September 2 last year.

He was working on the building’s second-floor roof and his task required him to frequently move between two fragile roof lights. When he put an item on one of the lights it gave in, causing him to fall through the roof light and onto a concrete floor three metres below.

The 29-year-old broke two of his vertebrae and also sustained severe bruising, but doctors believe he will make a full recovery.

Series of safety failings found

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation after the incident and brought the prosecution against Brims for a series of safety failings.

It found that the company had failed to put up barriers or other forms of safety measures which could have prevented the worker’s fall through the roof lights – even though a consultant who had been hired by Brims had recommended that they be installed.

The only measure the company took was to attach a paper note to each of the roof lights to warn that they were fragile. However, these notes had disappeared by the time the worker fell through the lights.

In reaction to the incident, Brims later put up scaffolding fencing around each roof light which did not have an effect on the other work carried out.

HSE Inspector Martin Smith commented: “The significant dangers of death and serious injury associated with falls from height during construction work are well-known in the industry and working near fragile roof lights without appropriate safety measures in place is simply not acceptable.”

Making a back injury 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.

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