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Company fined £75,000 after an employee fell 10m through fragile roof

A company has been found guilty by a Crown Court of breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  The worker involved in the accident had previously raised concerns about the fragility of the roof before he was asked to ascend and repair some cracks.

The injured man had worked for the company for 15 years and was instructed to go on the roof without any suitable safety guards to prevent his fall, despite him expressing his fears.  His concerns became valid after the worker fell 10 metres through the roof and landed on the concrete floor breaking his neck, back and ribs.

The injuries he sustained were life changing and also entirely preventable.  The judge presiding said that it was obviously a dangerous job and it was a miracle that the worker was not killed. Because of the gross negligence of the company, the logistics firm was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £29,351.88 in costs.

The employee said:

“After the accident I had to use a walking stick permanently. I will be on pain killers for the rest of my life. The injury has changed my life completely.”

An HSE inspector who investigated and prosecuted the case, said:

“The risk of falls through fragile roofs is well-known and the precautions required are simple and effective. This sentence will serve as a warning to firms that knowingly risking employees’ lives in the course of their work will not be tolerated.”

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