A young father-of-two has been left permanently injured and unable to return to work after falling five metres through a barn roof, a court was told.
Holyhead Magistrates’ Court heard that 23-year-old Gethin Bailey’s employer, builder Ian Robyn Perkins, had asked him to dismantle the roof unsupervised.
Mr Perkins, of Lon Twynti, Newborough, Anglesey, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £775 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Magistrates heard that Mr Bailey had been sent to do the job in December 2012 after Mr Perkins was contracted to dismantle a disused barn at Llangaffo, Gaerwen. But a section of the fragile roof gave way beneath him, causing him to fall onto the concrete floor below.
Mr Bailey fractured two vertebrae which had left him finding it difficult to walk and hold things, including his two young children. He also broke his wrists, ankle and heel and has been diagnosed with arthritis caused by the fall, the court was told.
Fall was ‘needless’
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated the incident and prosecuted Mr Perkins, said Mr Bailey should have been warned by his employer about the dangers of working on a fragile roof and advised on how to do the job safely.
Following the case HSE inspector Chris Wilcox said Mr Bailey is still suffering from severe injuries cause by the “needless” fall.
But he said the consequences could have been even worse, adding: “An average of between eight and 12 people die from similar falls through fragile roofs and roof lights every year. They account for almost a fifth of all fatal accidents which result from a fall from height in the construction industry.”
Mr Wilcox said careful planning and the use of trained, experienced and supervised workers with suitable equipment could prevent such accidents at work.
He said cement roof sheets were not designed to bear loads but if sending someone onto them was unavoidable safeguards such as perimeter protection, load-spreading measures and safety nets should be implemented.
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