Contractor fined £150,000 after worker’s spine fracture

14 September 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

A construction company has been fined £150,000 after a worker broke his back in a fall from height while helping to demolish a farm building.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 20 September 2017, an employee of Northern Structures was removing roof sheets from a timber frame farm building when he fell four metres through one of the asbestos cement roof sheets onto the ground below.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that, while a risk assessment and method statement were in place to remove the roof sheets from below, this method was then changed to remove them from above. It was during this process that the employee fell through a roof sheet.

Northern Structures of Amble Industrial Estate, Amble, Northumberland pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(a) and Regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £150,000 with £791.70 in costs.

HSE inspector Loren Wilmot said: “Suitable and sufficient measures should have been in place through the use of alternative access equipment.

“This would have negated the need for the employee to be on the roof of the building, therefore eliminating the risk of a fall from height through the roof sheets.”

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