Site supervisor fined after builder paralysed in fall

Grant Prior 5 years ago

A site supervisor has been prosecuted after his colleague was left paralysed after falling ten metres from the roof of a Tyneside warehouse.

Phillip Giles fell from an unprotected and fragile roof after supervisor Paul Burke ignored company safety policy and allowed workers, who were removing cement sheets, to go onto the roof.

Giles, 24, from South Shields, suffered multiple injuries and has been left paralysed from the neck down as a result of the fall.

Burke, of Brighouse, West Yorkshire was prosecuted after an HSE investigation into the incident at the Drum Industrial Estate in Birtley, on 5 September 2011.

Durham Crown Court heard Giles and colleagues were removing roof sheets by gaining access from below via a scissor lift.

HSE found that when this became difficult, Burke allowed the workers to go onto the roof itself but without the knowledge of his contracts manager as was required.

At one stage Giles got onto the roof to strip off more sheets, but trod on a loose skylight panel that gave way under him. He fell around 10 metres to the ground below.

The court was told Burke’s employer, which had a contract to remove asbestos cement roofs from a number of warehouses at the site, had identified them as fragile.

The company had agreed a system of work where its employees used scissor lifts, removing the roof sheets from the underside.

Burke supervised the work on site, but when they encountered problems in the work he did not bring these to the attention of the contracts manager as required by the company procedure.

Instead he permitted a change to the system of work, whereby he and other employees went onto the roof itself to carry out some of the work.

The HSE found the company’s agreed system was safe but by changing it, Burke had sanctioned an unsafe system of work.

The company was unaware of the changed way of working and Burke had failed to consult with them.

Burke pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching safety rules and was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £9,765.88 costs.

Speaking after the case Giles said: “I welcome the fact that the HSE has taken this action and I hope that this means what happened to me won’t happen to anyone else.”

HSE Inspector Keith Partington added: “This incident has had a devastating and life-changing impact on Mr Giles and his family.

“Mr Burke allowed some of the work to be undertaken on the roof without any measures in place to guard against falls and injury. He was not authorised to make changes of this nature and also failed to discuss the changes with his employer.

“Those who supervise work at height have a responsibility to ensure that it is carried out in a manner which is safe and which guards against the risk of injury from a fall.

“Such injuries, if not fatal, may result in a lifelong disability for the injured person.”

Latest news

Vinci UK profits soar despite £18m civils loss

Profit boost from land disposal offsets further losses at Taylor Woodrow
9 hours ago

£36m Cardiff student block set for planning OK

Crosslane gets go-ahead for 384-bed scheme
3 hours ago

Stalled Angelgate site put up for sale

Land earmarked for blighted Manchester resi scheme to go under auctioneer's hammer
4 hours ago

FRC launches probe into Carillion finance directors

Investigation into Richard Adam and Zafar Khan over preparation of financial accounts back to 2014
10 hours ago

Kier set for £48m Pirbright animal virus research lab

Work due to start before end of 2018 on the high containment large animal facility
9 hours ago

Wates sees order book swell to record £5.1bn

Contractor confident about future prospects as it offers new roles to former Carillion staff
10 hours ago

Engie to start stripping cladding on East London tower blocks

Canning Town and Plaistow Tower housing blocks get reclad go-ahead
9 hours ago

Passer-by raises safety alarm over solar panel contractor

Director and contractor fined after ignoring safety warnings
9 hours ago

RSK buys ground investigation specialist

Central Alliance is latest deal in acquisition spree by consultant
3 days ago

Plans in for Cheesegrater’s big brother in London

Tapering skyscraper at 100 Leadenhall will tower over the Cheesegrater
3 days ago

Vast £1.6bn South London estate rebuild approved

Clapham Park to be built out with 2,500 homes in mid-rise blocks
4 days ago

BESA appoints David Frise as new chief executive

Former submariner takes the helm at the Building Engineering Services Association
3 days ago

ISG clinches £17.5m Bradford leisure centre

Sedbergh sports and leisure facility will contain a 25m pool, gym
3 days ago

Boost your online presence with the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
3 weeks ago

Berkeley unable to boost construction of new homes

Housing giant blames market conditions as it predicts £3.3bn profit in five years to 2021
3 days ago

Balfour Beatty tipped for £200m London student/office scheme

Landmark Vine Street project could become Balfour's second major contract with Urbanest
3 days ago

VolkerWessels UK margins edge up to 3.2%

Profits and order book grow by 7% on back of rising infrastructure spend
3 days ago

Weston Homes submits 1.2m sq ft Norwich scheme

Anglia Square scheme will provide over 1,000 homes, 40 shops and a 200-bed hotel
3 days ago

Network Rail seeks two geotechnical firms for £190m north deal

Scottish and North East earthworks delivery places up for grabs
3 days ago

Search to start for £400m Southend regen partner

Council searching for development partner to build 1,300 homes
4 days ago

Kier lifted by McNicholas deal in first half

Kier says claims and final account still to be settled on challenging Mersey Gateway project
4 days ago

Betting Spy: Man City can win Champions League

City look a good bet at 3/1 to go all the way
4 days ago

Buckingham to build giant fridge at Dover port

Contractor wins race for £15m Refrigerated Cargo Terminal
4 days ago

Hydrock places remediation arm into administration

Up to 95 jobs at risk as Bristol-based QDS Contracting collapses
5 days ago

Balfour supplier hit by Hinkley contract delays

Engineering specialist Redhall hampered by delays to nuclear deal
4 days ago

£120m Glasgow police HQ to flats scheme approved

Moda Living is planning over 400 private rented flats
5 days ago

Worker loses finger at builders merchant

Welsh firm fined after glove gets caught in table saw
4 days ago

Hill secures £200m finance to deliver 5-year plan

House builder on recruitment drive as it plans to raise revenue to £1bn by 2023
5 days ago

Alumasc sounds profit warning over project delays

Shares slump 20% as commercial new build demand dips
5 days ago

Balfour Beatty UK construction arm returns to profit

Contractor continues turnaround despite Aberdeen bypass problems
5 days ago

Contractor services