4 meter fall lands company in court

A Southport company, Instruments & Gauges Electronics Ltd, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found that the employee was not given suitable equipment to carry out the work safely. has been fined after an employee sustained serious injuries when he fell some four metres from a bungalow roof.  The company specialises in manufacturing and repairing electrical test equipment and its managing director is also the landlord for several homes.

The 60-year-old from Southport, who has asked not to be named, fractured his skull and back, and broke several ribs in the incident on 6 March 2014.

Sefton Magistrates’ Court in Bootle heard on the 26th March, that the employee was asked to repair a broken ridge tile on the roof of a bungalow on Fylde Road in Southport. He used his ladder to reach the flat roof on a conservatory at the back of the property.  The worker then pulled the ladder up onto the conservatory roof and used it to reach the tile at the top of the bungalow roof. He fell around four metres and was found on the ground by the tenant, who called for an ambulance.

He was in the high dependency unit at the hospital for a week before being transferred to a normal ward, and was off work for 19 weeks as a result of his injuries.

Instruments & Gauges Electronics Ltd, of Gravel Lane in Banks, was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £961 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

The HSE investigation found the work on the roof had not been planned or supervised and the worker had not been given suitable equipment, such as scaffolding or a harness.  The company also failed to report the incident to HSE despite this being a legal requirement when workers suffer a serious injury.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Jackie Western said:

“One of the company’s employees has suffered serious injuries that may well affect him for the rest of his life because his employer ignored its legal duty to make sure he stayed safe.  Falls from height are the most common cause of deaths and serious injuries in the construction industry. The work to repair the ridge tile should have been planned properly but instead the employee was allowed to climb up to the roof without suitable equipment.

Instruments & Gauges Electronics should have made sure the work was carried out safely or, better still, hired a specialist roofing firm that knew what it was doing.”

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