Workman fell though domed rooflight on refurb project

Brims Construction Ltd has been fined after a worker was seriously injured when he fell 3m through a domed fragile roof light during refurbishment of a building in Newcastle on 2 September 2013. He fractured two vertebrae and suffered severe bruising, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Newcastle Magistrates heard the worker was on the second-floor roof of the building and frequently passed close to two fragile plastic roof lights. When he placed an item on one of the roof lights it fractured and he fell through the opening.

HSE investigators found no barriers or any other safety measures in place to prevent the fall contrary to the recommendation of a consultant.

A notice had been attached to the roof lights warning of the fragility. However, these paper notices were not present at the time of the incident. After the incident the company erected guarding around each roof light without impeding any other work.

Covers or effective fencing required

Brims Construction Ltd, of Austin Boulevard, Quay West Business Park, Sunderland, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £690 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9(2)(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Martin Smith said:

“This incident could easily have been prevented if Brims Construction Ltd had ensured that the fragile roof lights were either covered or effectively fenced off – something they did very easily after the incident happened.

Instead a worker suffered a serious fall that could have cost him his life and he was lucky to escape with what were still serious injuries.

The significant dangers of death and serious injury associated with falls from height during construction work are well-known in the industry and working near fragile roof lights without appropriate safety measures in place is simply not acceptable.”


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