December 13, 2013 10.22 am This story is over 95 months old

Lincoln firm fined after worker falls through roof

Dangerous roof: A Lincoln construction company was fined after a worker fell through a farm roof and seriously injured his back.

A construction company based in a Lincoln village has been fined over safety failing after an employee fell three metres through a fragile roof.

The 30-year-old man from Scampton, who does not want to be named, fell through a farm roof in Osgodby while working on a site for Timmins Engineering and Construction Limited of Sturton-by-Stow in January.

He injured his back, fracturing a vertebra and needing metal plates inserted in his back.

This led to an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), looking at the system of work in place at the time.

Lincoln Magistrates Court heard that the worker and a colleague were replacing fibre cement sheets on a storage building with steel sheets, using a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP), telehandler and crawler boards.

One was working inside the building from the MEWP, and the other on top of the roof using the crawler boards.

After an hour, the worker inside the building joined the other on top of the roof to speed things up.

However, as he moved to the next roof sheet, he slipped from the crawler board and stepped onto one of the old cement sheets.

It couldn’t take his weight and broke, sending him falling through the roof to the ground.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) established that although both workers were working to a pre-planned method of work, it was inherently unsafe and failed to mitigate the risks of working with fragile materials.

The court found that after the incident, the roofing work was completed a week later using scissor lifts inside the building — the incident would not have happened if this equipment had initially been provided.

Timmins Engineering and Construction pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The company was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £985 in costs.

HSE Inspector Chris Copeman said: “The worker sustained a serious injury that could have been avoided had a safer system of work been used for removing the fragile sheets.

“The risk of serious or even fatal injury is high and eminently foreseeable with this type of work, and it is vital that the correct equipment and methods are in place.

“The company eventually got it right by working from inside the building and avoiding the need to physically go onto the roof, but it is sad that it took a serious incident before this happened.”

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