Commercial Insurance News
A foundry has been fined a five-figure sum after a worker fell through its roof and broke three ribs.
The 49-year-old, from Coventry, fell five metres through the roof of Sarginsons Industries, in Torrington Avenue, after he was asked to clear gutters.
The man, who does not want to be named, fell through a fragile roof sheet during the foundry’s shutdown period while helping with cleaning and maintenance work.
He had been asked by his foreman to clean out the gutters but an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found this element of the work had not been risk assessed, and that the worker was not provided with any safe means of doing the cleaning, which involved working at height.
Sarginsons Industries was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £899 after pleading guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court heard that he accessed the gutters by ladder after first climbing onto and across a smaller fragile roof. He then walked and crawled in the gutters alongside open edges and parallel to fragile roof sheets.
The court was told that following the incident, on August 2 last year, he has also felt numbness in his left leg as well as ongoing mental anxiety.
He is no longer able to drive, struggles with everyday tasks and has been forced to curb his love of Kabaddi, a physical sport in which teams compete to tag opponents.
The court was told that no measures were in place to prevent or mitigate a fall, such as netting on the underside of the roof, and that there was no safe access or working arrangements.
HSE found Sarginsons Industries had been cleaning gutters in this manner for many years. After the incident, they immediately stopped working in this way.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Cooper said: “The danger posed by working at height, and in particular falling through fragile roof sheets, is well known.
“The company had a risk assessment that stated control measures would be needed for roof working, including creating a safe working platform with scaffold boards, or netting out beneath the roof sheets, as well as close supervision.
“However, none of this was acted upon.
“Too many people are killed or injured as a result of poorly planned and organised roof work.”
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