working from heightThe HSE has just reported the case of a building firm who was fined for safety breaches following a joiner who broke a collarbone and rib when he fell through an unprotected rooflight opening.  The HSE prosecuted Brent firm Charles Henderson Construction Ltd after discovering roof openings and roof edges were unprotected.

Magistrates heard that the joiner was carrying insulation across a roof of an extension and fell through an opening, landing on open joists on the GF approx. 2.5m below.  His injuries included concussion, a head wound as well as the fractures and was hospitalised.

Investigators for the HSE found that CHC failed to put measures in place to prevent the joiner from falling from height.  This was attributed to their lack of managerial health and safety competence and its failure to put into practice the findings of its risk assessment.  CHC was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,118 in costs after admitting a breach of the Working at Height Regulations.

HSE Inspector Stephron Baker Holmes said, after the hearing:

“…this was a preventable incident.  The risks of falling during roof work are easily understood, even from a single-storey level. The company needed to do something about these risks, but it failed to put in place the safeguards that are standard practice in the industry as well as common sense – edge protection, covers over roof openings.  As a result, a worker suffered painful injuries and, had he landed on his head when he fell, it could have been much worse. Falls from height by workers in construction are far too commonplace and fatalities happen too often.  I am sure Charles Henderson Construction would wish to turn the clock back and take the steps needed to prevent falls, but the answer is to do this in the first place…”