A 49-year-old worker was left with three broken ribs after falling through a fragile roof sheet and plunging five metres to the factory floor below while clearing gutters at a foundry, a court was told.
Sarginsons Industries Ltd, of Coventry, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £899 in costs after admitting it breached the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court heard that the man, who does not want to be named, was helping with cleaning and maintenance work during the foundry’s shutdown period in August 2013.
The court heard he had been asked by his foreman to clean out the gutters, work which a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found had not been risk assessed.
The HSE probe also found that the man had not been provided with any safe means of carrying out the work at height while no measures such as netting were in place to prevent or lessen the effects of a fall.
Work at height dangers ‘well known’
Magistrates heard that since his fall the man has been left with numbness in his left leg and continuing anxiety. He is no longer able to drive and has difficulty with everyday tasks.
The court was told that Sarginsons had been cleaning its gutters in the same way for years but had stopped doing so following the accident.
Following the court hearing HSE inspector Paul Cooper said the dangers posed by working at height, particularly with fragile roof sheets, was well known.
He said although the firm had a risk assessment saying control measures would be needed for roof work at the foundry it had not been acted upon.
Mr Cooper added: “Too many people are killed or injured as a result of poorly planned and organised roof work.”
Date Published: March 12, 2014
Author: David Brown