Site supervisor fined after builder paralysed in fall

Grant Prior 5 years ago
Share

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

Willmott homes arm fined £1.25m over gas blunder

Court hears how residents were put at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
6 hours ago

Eggborough gas-fired power station gains consent

Work could start by summer next year at North Yorkshire site
4 hours ago

£100m Aberdeen Broadford Works village plan approved

Demolition work to start at historic former textile factory site
5 hours ago

Go-ahead for £160m Leeds Monk Bridge scheme

McAlpine is on board as preferred contractor for the project
14 hours ago

Opinion: Safety fines are getting out of control

We need more effective ways to improve safety than ever higher penalties
14 hours ago

Shake-up for £2.9bn MoD hard FM contracts

Post-Carillion bid race for MoD estate and housing regional FM contracts
1 day ago

Wates set to start on £53m Portsmouth sports centre

Contractor understood to have won contract race for new university complex
2 days ago

Lack of skilled roofers prompts Marley new launch

Easy to install roofing roll compensates for lack of skilled workers
14 hours ago

Caddick takes workforce plastic-free

Workers given aluminium drinks bottles in bid to bin single-use plastics
22 hours ago

Wates wins 7th Leeds Wellington Place job

Work will start of £35m 4 Wellington Place project next month
1 day ago

Kier targets £50m disposals to cut £375m debt

Firm sets out debt reduction plan in robust year-end results
2 days ago

Betting Spy: Spurs to shrug off recent troubles

Tottenham can kick-start a win treble with Leicester and Crystal Palace
23 hours ago

Keltbray concrete structures boss exits

Keltbray Structures MD Gordon Dunne on gardening leave
2 days ago

141 jobs axed as M&E specialist George Birchall fails

Larger FM business George Birchall Service avoids administration
2 days ago

Morgan Sindall bags £384m London scheme first phase

Hackney scheme includes an academy, leisure centre and six blocks of flats
2 days ago

Mace confirms £180m Olympic Park East Village deal

Firm will fine-tune its 'rising factory' method on the No6 East Village project
2 days ago

Contractor trials mixed reality headsets on school site

BIM and Microsoft HoloLens used to check M&E work
2 days ago

PM pledges extra £2bn for housing associations over 10 years

Longterm funding will be made available from 2022-2029
2 days ago

Jacobs to lead Edinburgh city centre transformation plan

Team will set out plan for historic overhaul of streets and public space
2 days ago

Costain and Galliford Try fined £2.8m after worker loses toes

Massive fine after accident at Cheshire water treatment works
3 days ago

Boost your online presence – join the new Enquirer Directory

New site for suppliers and buyers will showcase their products, services and latest stories
5 months ago

Van Elle shareholders stage AGM revolt

Shareholders block board's ability to issue new shares for acquisitions
3 days ago

£100m Bristol sports arena plan at Ashton Gate stadium

Sports and convention centre will be attached to Lansdown Stand
3 days ago

Balfour Beatty raises £43m from hospital stake sale

Balfour sells 50% stake in Fife Hospital PPP
3 days ago

Kier offloads pensions unit for £3.5m

Third party pension management business administers half of all police pension
3 days ago

Willmott Dixon clinches £38m Winchester sports centre

Work to start in Spring 2019 on major leisure and sports complex
3 days ago

Architect TP Bennett reaches record turnover

Manchester office grows on back of city building boom
3 days ago

Brexit migration plan would “cripple construction”

Industry pleas ignored over need for steady flow of low-skilled site workers
3 days ago

Wates wins £16m Stockport college revamp

Work is due to start in the early new year on Wellington Road Campus
3 days ago

Balfour Beatty pioneers plastic pylons in Scotland

140 composite poles installed by new helicopter crane in just five days
3 days ago

Contractor services