By: evelyn | Date: 2022-02-07
“After A Labourer Fell Through A Skylight, A Roofing Contractor Received A 12-Month Community Service Sentence And A £3,000 Fine”
A roofing contractor was convicted after an unpaid casual labourer fell through a skylight and suffered multiple fractures during the restoration of an old asbestos cement roof of an industrial building in Exeter.
On October 23, 2018, Ian Davey (trading as Exe Fibreglass) told the labourer to cut fibreglass for the old asbestos cement roof of the industrial building, according to Plymouth Magistrates' Court. The labourer wanted to obtain industry experience and had never before worked on roofs.
After cutting the fibreglass, the labourer followed Davey and another coworker to the roof to examine how it was installed. He then took a step onto a skylight that collapsed. He plunged five and a half metres to the floor below as a weak skylight gave way beneath him.
He lost his balance and fell through the skylight and had multiple hand and wrist fractures, which required surgical wire to correct, as well as rib fractures.
Several fragile skylights were installed on the roof where the crew were working. Although these skylights had been identified, the roofing contractor failed to guarantee that a safe work practice was in place that required the roof workers to apply a fall injury prevention device.
Exmouth resident Davey, trading as Exe Fibreglass, pleaded guilty to violating Section 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Davey was sentenced to a 12-month community service term that included 80 hours of unpaid labour and a £3,000 fine.
An inquiry by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the work had not been planned adequately. There was no netting on the skylight, no crawl boards, and no safety harnesses, according to the investigation.
There was a clear lack of training or expertise in supervising individuals operating at height, as well as no preventative safety precautions for the skylights.
"This tragedy could have been avoided so easily by just utilising correct control measures and following safe working procedures," HSE inspector Peter Buscombe said after the hearing. Falls from a height continue to be one of the most prevalent causes of work-related injury and death in the United States, and the dangers of working at height are well-known.
According to HSE inspector Peter Buscombe, the fall and severe injuries suffered by the labourer could have been easily averted if proper safety procedures had been in place.
Falling from heights was the leading cause of workplace deaths in the UK, according to the HSE's report on workplace safety events for 2020/21.
Ian Davey was unable to be reached for comment.
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