Roofer falls onto sawmill factory floor

Grant Prior 14 years ago
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Two companies have been fined after a roofing contractor fell through a skylight and suffered serious head injuries.

Woodgate Sawmills Limited, and Stanley John Frederick Stephens of The Longhope Welding Company were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after Robert Stephens fell through a fragile skylight while working on the roof of a sawmill building at Mile End, Coleford, Gloucestershire.

On 1 June 2007 Mr Stephens, 40, from Longhope, was working for his father, Stanley, alongside fellow Longhope Welding Company employees to raise the roof line of the Woodgate Sawmill building at Mile End, Coleford, when he fell five metres and landed on  the concrete floor below, sustaining serious head injuries.

At a hearing before Gloucester Magistrates, Woodgate Sawmills Ltd of Hill Street, Lydney, Gloucestershire pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 and 2007 and was fined a total of £13,320 and ordered to pay costs of £14,443.

Stanley Stephens of Church Road, Longhope, Gloucestershire pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was fined a total of £26,660 and ordered to pay costs of £14,443.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Annette Walker, said: “This incident highlights the extremely serious risks posed by working at height if adequate safety protection measures are not in place.

“The investigation revealed significant failures in the safe systems of work for the removal of the roof sheets and also significant failure to control risks of working at height during all of the stages of the sawmill refurbishment.

“Robert Stephens was supervising two other employees who were also at risk, one of whom was only 17 at the time of this incident.

“The sawmill remained open during all of the works and employees working below were also at risk from persons or objects falling on them. Robert’s fall could easily have proved fatal.”

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