Preventable Roof Fall Results In Serious Head Injury & £20,000 Fine

A Kent construction group have incurred a total of
£20,000 in fines after they failed to ensure their team were aware
of the dangers related to fragile building.

An unnamed South American builder fell
two meters causing him to sustain serious head injuries.

Life Changing Injuries

The accident happened in February 2013,
while the man was working on a building in Gerrards Cross,
Buckinghamshire. While the construction worker, who wishes to
remain anonymous, was removing a fragile garage roof with a
colleague, the roof collapsed, causing both men to fall two metres
to the ground below.

One was lucky to escape with minor cuts
and bruises. However, the Brazilian was more seriously injured,
after sustaining an impact to his head.

At hospital it was discovered he had
incurred a traumatic brain injury, which has required numerous
reconstructive surgeries. The resulting damage has left him
suffering with seizures, which require ongoing medical
intervention, and has made it difficult for him to return to his
normal life.

Preventable Accident

Cablesheer Construction Limited and
Cablesheer (Asbestos) Ltd, both part of Cablesheer Group based in
Swanley were prosecuted after an investigation into the incident
was carried out by the Health and Safety Executive.

The court heard how work had been
initially assessed as low risk and so had not been appropriately
planned, despite a thorough assessment being possible from ground
level.

Had the risks been properly managed,
training provided and adequate safety measures and equipment put
into place, the accident could have been prevented.

The court accepted that the defendants
had not sought to benefit financially from the working arrangement,
but even so, had not fulfilled their obligations.

Hefty Fine For Two
Companies

Cablesheer Construction Ltd and
Cablesheer (Asbestos) Limited, both based at the same address in
London Road, Swanley, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at
Height regulations 2005, Regulation 6(3). The case was heard at
High Wycombe Magistrates Court and both companies were ordered to
pay £756.50 in costs and a £10,000 fine each.

Avoidable Suffering And Financial
Pressure

The case underlines the necessity of a
comprehensive risk assessment and the provision of appropriate and
safe equipment when working at heights. An hour or two’s additional
preparation, and some minor investment in the correct equipment was
all that was needed to prevent an accident which has resulted in
life-changing injuries for one man and a substantial financial
penalty for two companies.