Firm Ordered To Pay £13000 After Worker Falls From A Roof
A Dorset firm specialising in solar panel installation has been fined £13,000 after an employee plunged from a roof in Hampshire.
The man, who worked for Gendex Limited, fell through a rooflight at the New Milton and District Community Centre, in New Milton.
He plunged more than three metres into the centre before landing on a raised platform in February 2012 . He was not injured because the platform broke his fall.
Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that Gendex was installing 68 solar panels on the flat roof of the building over the course of three days.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed that a scissor lift was provided for workers to access the roof, as were safety harnesses and training. But there were no attachment points on the roof so the harnesses could only be used in the lift.
There was also no protection provided for the edge of the roof or the two rooflights, inspectors discovered.
Magistrates heard that the company had decided it was sufficient to simply warn staff about the potential fall risks rather than impose safety measures that may have damaged the roof itself. Scaffolding was also ruled out.
Gendex, which also supplies cavity wall insulation, was served with a Prohibition Notice by HSE in March 2006 relating to unsafe ladder work, the court heard. So it is thought that the company was aware of the need to manage work at height.
Gendex Limited, of Bridge House, Court Road, Swanage, was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £2,477 in costs after admitting two separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Adam Wycherley highlighted the fact that work at height is ‘inherently fraught with risk’. He added that falls continue to be the greatest cause of fatality and serious injury within the construction industry.
He continued: “Thankfully the worker avoided injury on this occasion, but he was extremely fortunate to do so. The fall was entirely preventable and Gendex Ltd has no excuse for failing to do more than they did to mitigate the risks he and others faced.
“Roof work must be properly planned and appropriate safety equipment provided.”
Using a roof ladder together with a mobile scaffold tower may have helped to prevent a fall from height.