Firms prosecuted after man is left paralysed in accident at work

A construction company and a roofing company have been prosecuted by the HSE after an accident at work left a man paralysed from the waist down.

Giovanni Mastrodomenico, 56 and from Swindon, fell through a waterproof membrane into an unguarded hole whilst working on the Marlborough Park development in the town in August 2011. He fell some four metres onto the concrete floor below.

Mr Mastrodomenico was carrying out metalwork prior to the installation of a vent on the roof of the new apartment block when he plunged through the hole where the vent was supposed to be placed.

The injuries he sustained have left him unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

The resulting HSE investigation found that scaffolding under the hole, inside the building, had been removed as it was obstructing an emergency escape route and scaffolding boards had been placed over the hole instead.

But, these planks were removed to allow workmen to lay the waterproof membrane over the hole in preparation for the installation of the vent.

So, there was nothing in place to prevent or mitigate Mr Mastrodomenico’s fall.

Swindon Magistrates’ Court also heard that the risk assessment and the method statement were unsuitable as they failed to refer to the installation of the vent.

There was confusion about who was site manager when the accident at work happened and although the site manager had seen roofers working near the hole, he failed to stop the work to ensure that scaffolding boards were replaced.

Tego Roofing failed to provide adequate supervision or instruction to its employees while working on the roof, and they failed to identify and warn others of the risks created by the removal of the boards covering the hole.

The construction company, Wates, failed to plan, manage or monitor the work and did not ensure there as a risk assessment in place.

Vicki Wright, expert personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co says, “A man and his family’s life has completely changed by the failings of managers on the construction site.”

“Not only will the injuries he sustained caused pain and suffering, but his employment opportunities are restricted due to the permanent injuries he sustained in this accident at work.”

HSE statistics revealed that falls from height are the biggest killer in the construction industry and more than 6,300 were seriously injured following a fall.

Vicki adds, “Work from height must be planned properly to prevent devastating injuries occurring to workers. Everyone has the right to go to and return from work safely.”