A Surrey carpentry firm has been fined for safety failings after a fall from height accident resulted in a man sustaining a fractured skull.
The man, who does not want to be named, fell through a roof light on a construction site in Cobham.
Fall from height injuries
He suffered soft tissue damage to his right hamstring, along with his fractured skull on 7th June 2012 on the development site at Oxshott Rise, where a large detached home was being constructed.
The man was helping to construct a flat roof with a number of roof light openings for D&R Carpentry Ltd. based in Horley.
He fell through one of the openings to the ground below; a three metre fall from height.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that there were no measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall, such as safety decking beneath the roof and openings, or a soft landing system.
This fall from height accident could have been prevented.
D&R Carpentry Ltd. had previously been warned to consider risks posed by a fall from height accident by the HSE following site inspections at a site in Hurst Green, East Sussex in January and February 2007. This resulted in written advice and Prohibition Notice being served to stop work and immediate improvements to be made.
Melanie Lidstone Land, specialist personal injury lawyer at Swain & Co. solicitors, says, “Working from height is fraught with risks. Fall from height accidents remain the biggest cause of deaths and serious injury within the construction industry.”
“There are plenty of work guidelines and regulations to support firms in this industry to reduce the risks or where the risks cannot be eliminated, use methods to reduce the distance and consequences if a fall from height occurs.”
“People have a right to go to work to carry out their job to be safe and return home uninjured.”
Fall from height regulations
As part of the Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007, duty holders must ensure:
- all work at height is properly planned and organised
- those involved in work at height are competent
- the risks from work at height are assessed and appropriate work equipment is selected and used
- the risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled
- equipment for work at height is properly inspected and maintained.
There is a simple hierarchy for managing and selecting equipment for work at height. Duty holders must:
- avoid work at height where they can
- use work equipment or other measures to prevent falls where they cannot avoid working at height
- where they cannot eliminate the risk of a fall, use work equipment or other measures to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall should one occur.