Wigan roofing fines suffers heavy fine after worker falls through roof

by Redmans Solicitors on June 6, 2013

A Wigan-based roofing firm has been heavily fined after a worker fell through a roof and was seriously hurt.

K Pendlebury & Sons Ltd, based in Wigan, found themselves in court this week after one of their employees fell through a school roof, seriously injuring his midriff and right arm.

The incident happened on 9 November 2011 when the company was working on a project to replace the raised roof on the sports hall at Loreto High School, Chorlton. Mr Lee Byrne, 29, was working on the roof when the accident happened. He was walking across to talk to a number of employees and take their lunch orders when the roof gave way under him and he plummeted thirty feet to the ground below, hitting a section of scaffolding on his way down. This resulted in Mr Byrne sustaining the following injuries – a broken pelvis, broken fingers, fractured right arm and a completely smashed right elbow. The injury to his elbow was so serious that he had to have an artificial elbow fitted. He has not been able to return to work since.

It is not currently known whether Mr Byrne is going to claim personal injury against K Pendlebury & Sons Ltd.

The Health and Safety Executive were notified of the accident and subsequently investigated. This investigation resulted in a recommendation that K Pendlebury & Sons Ltd be prosecuted.

The case came before the Trafford Magistrates’ Court in Sale on 3 June 2013. The court heard evidence that workers of the company had removed old steel beams under part of the roof so that new beams could be installed. However, this left part of the fragile corrugated iron roof exposed and meant that there was a large risk that an accident could result from this. No steps were taken by the company to protect the fragile areas – including, for example, the lack of a barrier. Scaffolding had also been erected only under parts of the roof rather than covering the full width.

K Pendlebury & Sons Ltd pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 after it failed to ensure that workers were protected from standing on fragile parts of the roof. The court ordered that the company pay a £10,000 fine and £3,539 in costs.

Regulation 9 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states that every employer shall ensure that no person at work passes across or near, or works on, from or near, a fragile surface where it is reasonably practicable to carry out work safely and under appropriate ergonomic conditions without his doing so.

Marc Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans employment solicitors, commented on the case that “individuals and businesses have strict obligations to comply with the regulations relating to working at height. If any business fails to comply with these regulations – and exposes their workers to the risk of harm – then they run the risk of being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive and prosecuted”.

Redmans Solicitors are solicitors offering compromise agreement advice based in London

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