£4000 fine for roofing accident firm

A roofing firm has been fined £4000 after a worker in Chorley was seriously injured when he fell through the roof at a school.

It was found by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that St Helens-based W Swindells & Son (Roofing) Ltd had not put sufficient safety measures in place to ensure workers did not fall through skylights thus breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The unnamed worker suffered fractures to his spine, breastbone and ribs and narrowly avoided being left paralysed following the incident where he fell three meters to the floor, striking a partition wall as he fell.  However, due to the extent of his injuries he will never be able to return to work.  In addition his wife had to give up her job to care for him.

HSE Inspector Chris Hatton said, “The worker could easily have been killed when he fell through the roof and will be affected by his injuries for the rest of his life.  Sadly these types of incidents are all too common in the construction industry and firms need to do more to look after the safety of people working at height.”

It was established that had the correct procedure been followed and the safeguards been in place, the worker would not have fallen through the felted but otherwise uncovered skylight hole.

Mr Hatton said, “If the company had taken the simple measure of fitting pieces of plywood over the holes then his injuries could have been avoided, but it failed to properly plan the work and anticipate the dangers.”

Graeme Swain, managing partner of Swain and Co says, “This case shows the importance of following regulations designed to protect workers, and the consequences of when these are not properly implemented.”