Worker snaps spine in skylight fall

Grant Prior 5 years ago
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An Essex contractor has been fined £30,000 after an employee broke his spine when he fell through a skylight at a site in Hampshire.

The worker, who does not wish to be identified, made a full recovery following the incident at Fontley Road in Titchfield, near Fareham, on 16 August 2011, but was unable to work for six weeks.

His employer, Prestige Construction Services Ltd, of Rainham, was prosecuted after an HSE investigation revealed there were inadequate measures in place to prevent or mitigate the fall.

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court heard the worker was helping to construct the roof of a new build community centre.

There were several holes in the roof where skylights were to be placed, but they were left exposed, with no coverings or guard rails on or around the holes, and no safety nets underneath.

The worker fell almost four metres to the floor below, with his spine taking the impact. Magistrates were told that he is fortunate to have made such a swift recovery and sustained no lasting damage.

Prestige Construction Services Ltd was fined a total of £30,000 and ordered to pay £9,000 in costs after pleading guilty to safety breaches.

After the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Steve Hull said: “You would expect a construction company to be fully aware of the risks posed by working at height and to take the appropriate safety precautions. Yet that clearly didn’t happen here, and the employee could easily have paid with his life as a result.

“The incident was entirely preventable had Prestige Construction Services put effective measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall – as is essential at all times during roofing work.”

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