Scaffolder breaks back in roof fall

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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A West Bromwich contractor has been prosecuted after a scaffolder suffered a broken back and wrists when he fell seven metres through a roof in Stoke-on-Trent.

Fred Lewis Scaffold Company Ltd employee Gary Hampton was installing scaffolding last April at a factory in Newstead Industrial Estate when he fell through the fragile roof.

Fenton Magistrates’ Court heard the father-of-three shattered his thigh bone, bruised his lungs, broke both wrists, broke two vertebrae and cracked another.

He was in hospital for six weeks and will never be able to carry out any manual work again.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation into the incident found the company did not prepare or survey the job properly at the outset and failed to supervise or train its employees adequately.

Fred Lewis Scaffold Company Ltd, whose registered office is in Birmingham Road, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £19,000 costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Alastair Choudhury said: “This case highlights both the dangers of working on fragile roofs and the continual exposure of scaffolders to the risk of falling from height.

“It is very sad that a man with a family to support is now unable to work as a result of an entirely preventable incident.

“If Fred Lewis Scaffold Company had carried out an adequate survey of this job before starting work and supervised and trained its employees properly, the risks involved would have been identified.”

“Falls from height remain the biggest cause of deaths within the construction industry, and this incident could easily have been fatal. HSE will continue to deal robustly with poorly performing companies in this area.

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