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Fine after worker breaks back in roof fall

13 May 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

A Lincolnshire construction company has been fined £30,000 after a worker broke his back falling through a fragile roof.

Boston Magistrates’ Court heard how on 2 May 2017 an employee of Foundations and Buildings Ltd was constructing the roof of a new agricultural building adjacent to an existing barn in Louth, Lincolnshire. While doing so he stepped onto the fragile roof of the adjacent barn, fell five metres onto the concrete floor and broke his back.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident revealed that the system of work in use to control risks from work at height was fundamentally unsuitable.

It relied on workers wearing harnesses to control the risk of falling when it would have been more appropriate to use edge protection or nets. In addition to this the investigation determined that although harnesses had been provided, in reality their use was not enforced by the company.

Foundations and Buildings Limited of Manor Farm, Skegness Road, Hogsthorpe, Skegness, Lincolnshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and has been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4814.04

HSE inspector Roy Poulter said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the employee could have been prevented.”

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