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A metalwork casting and machining company was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay costs of nearly £6,000 after one of their employees nearly fell through a fragile roof at their premises.

Canterbury Crown Court heard how one of the company’s employees was working on the roof of their workshop when he slipped and almost fell through the roof. The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that the company had failed in their duty to provide suitable safety equipment for employees working at height, and in addition had failed to provide appropriate training for the employee.

The HSE inspector for the case said after the hearing; “This incident had the potential to cause significant, life-threatening injuries to the employee who was affected.”

Falls from height are one of the most common causes of work-place injuries and fatalities. Falling from ladders and falling through fragile roofs are some of the most frequent incidents but most of these can be avoided if suitable working at height precautions are put in place. According to the HSE, before working at height you should always work through these simple steps:

  • Avoid work at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so;
  • Where work at height cannot be avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment;
  • Minimise the distance and consequences of a fall by using the right type of equipment where rick cannot be eliminated.

Additional advice from the HSE states that you should:

  • Do as much work as possible from the ground
  • Ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height
  • Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly
  • Make sure you don’t overload or overreach when working at height
  • Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
  • Provide protection from falling objects
  • Consider your emergency evacuation and response procedures

It is the responsibility of all employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees while they are performing their duties. If you or someone you know has been injured at work through a fall from height – even if the height was not particularly great – you could be entitled to claim for compensation for your injuries. Contact one of our solicitors today to see if we can help you get the compensation you deserve.