Published: 09:00, 03 September 2014 |
Updated: 12:54, 03 September 2014
Two building firms have been fined for safety failings after a worker was injured when he fell through a roof on site.
The 46-year-old worker from Tunbridge Wells, who does not wish to be named, fell through the fragile roof of a food packaging firm’s premises in Bridge after losing his balance on the working platform he was using.
He landed on the roof nearly six feet below him and suffered a broken rib and fractured left wrist.
Canterbury Magistrates were told the food firm had used WW Martin for several years to carry out building work at their site and contracted them to fix leaks in the premises.
WW Martin then hired specialist roofing firm Brandclad to carry out the work.
Before the repairs started, WW Martin were sent a risk assessment and planned method of work by Brandclad which highlighted the danger of the roof and stated that platforms with handrails and harnesses would be used.
However, HSE found that from the start of work on September 22 until a month later when the work finished, the platforms were left open and unprotected.
“This was a completely avoidable incident. The dangers of working on fragile roofs are very well- known in the industry" - HSE Inspector Melvyn Stancliffe
Even after the Brandclad employee fell and work was suspended for ten days, the only change made was to provide platforms that sat flatter and more evenly.
The handrails and harnesses promised were never used by Brandclad and WW Martin, responsible for monitoring the work, failed to take any action.
Magistrates heard HSE was told that both WW Martin and Brandclad had considered using the prevention measures but decided against it because of doubts about the structural strength.
WW Martin Ltd, of Dane Park Road, Ramsgate, and Brandclad Ltd, of North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells, each admitted one breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Brandclad, stated by the court to be 60% culpable, was fined £7,000 and WW Martin was fined £10,000 as a result of its stronger financial position despite being 40 per cent culpable.
HSE Inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said: “This was a completely avoidable incident. The dangers of working on fragile roofs are very well- known in the industry.
"Such work should never be undertaken without careful planning and making sure the right type of fall prevention and mitigation measures are in place.
“It is incredible the work was carried out despite the companies’ misgivings about the strength of the internal cold store roof. Had that given way when the worker fell on to it then HSE would likely have been investigating a death.
“Even after the incident, the job was resumed without any proper improvements made to the working methods. There should be no shortcuts when working on fragile surfaces – no matter how short the duration of a job is.”
The worker from Tunbridge Wells has since recovered and returned to work.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.