A freight trailer manufacturer has been fined after an employee fell and injured himself in a roof accident.
John Strachan, 50, was working on a fragile roof at the brake department at Gray & Adams’ site in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, when he fell, fracturing his hand.
The firm was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for allowing dangerous work at height following the incident on December 11, 2013.
Asbestos cement roof
The roof was made up entirely of asbestos cement sheeting with a number of roof lights, but no fragile roof warning notices were fixed to the building, Peterhead Sheriff Court heard.
An investigation by HSE found that installation, maintenance and cleaning work had been carried out on the roof over a period of time without sufficient fall prevention measures in place.
A quarter of all deaths during work at height involve falls through fragile surfaces, such as roof lights and asbestos cement roofing sheets.
Gray & Adams Ltd was fined £5,300 after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
No safety harness
HSE inspector Niall Miller criticised the company for failing to have precautions in place for working on fragile surfaces, especially as everyone in the maintenance team knew the roof was fragile.
He said that although the risk assessment Gray & Adams had in place for working on roofs included wearing a safety harness, this particular roof had no means of attaching a harness.
“The use of ‘crawling boards’ was not suitable or sufficient,” he added. “John Strachan was fortunate to have fallen on the roof itself. If he had fallen through it he could have been more seriously injured, or even killed.”
Following the incident Gray & Adams carried out a new risk assessment for roof work, which identified the need to investigate further fall protection measures.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: September 23, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown