Two firms fined after worker fractures spine in fall

7 June 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

A contractor and a scaffolding company have both been fined after a worker fell five metres from a roof and suffered life-changing injuries.

Leeds Magistrates' Court heard how in December 2015 Jhanade Ryan, a subcontractor working for Centreco (UK), was installing solar panels to the roof of Firth Steels, Brighouse West Yorkshire.

Ryan slipped on the roof, sliding down to the edge protection. The toe board of the edge protection snapped and he fell through the scaffold, landing on a sub-station flat roof.

He fractured his spine, as well as suffering a broken coccyx and nerve damage. Ryan was in hospital for almost three months and is now unable to work due to ongoing mobility issues.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the scaffolding company had not erected the scaffold to a known industry standard or design.

The investigation also found roof lights were present on the roof and that the contractor had failed to take effective measures to prevent workers falling through these fragile surfaces.

Oswestry Shropshire Scaffold of Pool Cottage, Oswestry, Shropshire pleaded guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and has been fined £28,800 and ordered to pay £945.20 in costs.

Centreco (UK) of Hearle House, Chorley, Lancs also pleaded guilty to breaching the Act and has been fined £33,500 and ordered to pay £945.20 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Jayne Towey said: "Falls from height often result in life changing or fatal injuries.

"In most cases these accidents are needless and could be prevented by properly planning to ensure that effective preventative and protective measures are in place such as edge protection or barriers built to the correct standard."

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