A worker suffered life-changing injuries when he plunged nearly seven metres through an unsafe rooflight, a court has heard.
Peter Bettison, from Cross Gates in Leeds, sustained multiple injuries, including a punctured lung and a fractured skull, and needed to be under sedation for most of the 22 days he had to spend in hospital.
His employer, Duncan Plumbing, Heating and Electrics Ltd, admitted safety failings relating to the incident at a farm in Ilkley on 28 November 2011.
Lack of protection
Bradford Magistrates were told by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) how the rooflight lacked any protection.
Mr Bettison and another employee were installing solar panel racks on the roof of a farm building when the incident took place. The 54-year-old stood up and unwittingly stepped on one of the rooflights, which instantly gave way beneath his weight and sent him crashing nearly seven metres to the concrete floor below.
HSE found that Duncan Plumbing, Heating and Electrics Ltd had carried out two site surveys in advance of the work, identified the presence of rooflights and had loaded the information in their computer system for the design team.
But the company firm failed to take any action to protect either the workers from falls or the rooflights themselves.
Claiming personal injury compensation
In addition to a punctured lung and a fractured skull, Mr Bettison suffered a head wound needing 13 staples, a broken collar bone, broken ribs along his left side, a fracture to his left hand, a broken left pelvis and chipped bones in his spine and hip.
Duncan Plumbing, Heating and Electrics Ltd., of Rudgate Business Park, Tockwith, York, was fined the maximum magistrates were able to impose – £20,000 – and ordered to pay £3,408 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Source: York Press
Date Published: June 5, 2014
Author: David Brown