Monday 25 March 2013

Fall through fragile roof

A self-employed maintenance contractor has admitted safety failings after a friend, who was helping him on a job, fell through a roof at a disused factory.

Ashley Jones was hired to dismantle the roof of a disused rubber factory at Bullo Pill, Newnham in the Forest of Dean, on 4 September last year. He asked one of his friends to assist him with the job. The man climbed a ladder to access the roof and wasn’t warned it was fragile. There were no witnesses to the incident, and it’s thought the man was walking across the roof, which was made of fragile asbestos cement, when it gave way. He fell three metres to the ground and suffered a broken elbow. He was unable to work for three months owing to his injury.

The HSE investigated the incident and found Jones had failed to plan the work properly. The work should have been carried out from underneath the roof from either a cherry-picker or a scaffold tower. There were also no guardrails in place to prevent falls.

HSE inspector Sue Adsett said: “Ashley Jones is a general property maintenance worker and had neither the training nor experience working on industrial roofs. Falls from height are the single biggest cause of deaths and serious injury in the construction industry but proper planning and simple precautions, such as working from platforms below when possible and using edge protection, can reduce the risks.”

Jones appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on 18 March and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £1250 and ordered to pay £1000 in costs.

Conceding he accepted he didn’t have the required knowledge and experience to do the work, he said he usually worked on domestic properties but needed the extra work. He stressed there was no deliberate attempt to cut corners on safety and the failings were an oversight. He added that he fully cooperated with the investigation and has no previous convictions.

Source: SHP 20-3-13

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