A building contractor has been fined for breaking safety legislation after a young worker plunged five metres through a barn roof onto a concrete floor causing extensive and permanent injuries.
Gethin Bailey, 23, from Newborough on Anglesey, was asked to dismantle the barn roof unsupervised when the incident happened on 13 December 2012.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which today (23 January) prosecuted Mr Bailey’s employer, builder Ian Perkins, at Holyhead Magistrates.
The court heard that Mr Perkins had been contracted to dismantle the disused barn at Llangaffo, Gaerwen, and sent Mr Bailey to do the job. Mr Bailey went onto the fragile roof to cut through bolt heads that were securing the roof sheets when a section of roof gave way beneath him.
His injuries included broken wrists, an ankle and heel and two fractured vertebrae making it difficult to walk and hold things, including his two young children. He has also been diagnosed with arthritis caused by the fall and has been unable to return to work.
The HSE investigation found Mr Bailey had been sent to the site with no supervision from Mr Perkins, who should have warned him of the dangers of working on a fragile roof and advised him how to carry out the job in a safe way.
Ian Robyn Perkins, of Lon Twynti, Newborough, near Llanfairpwllgwyngyll pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 and was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £775 in costs.
HSE Inspector Chris Wilcox, speaking after the hearing, said:
“Mr Bailey continues to suffer from severe injuries caused by his needless fall but the consequences could have been even worse. An average of between eight and 12 people die from similar falls through fragile roofs and roof lights every year. They account for almost a fifth of all fatal accidents which result from a fall from height in the construction industry.
“It is vital contractors and workers recognise that cement roof sheets are not designed to bear loads. Work should be planned so no-one needs to get onto the roof but if this is necessary, proper safeguards should be put in place, such as perimeter edge protection, safety nets and stagings on the roof to spread the load.
“Incidents can be prevented by careful planning and using trained and experienced workers with suitable equipment under a high level of supervision.”
Further information about working safely on fragile roofs can be found on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis5.htm
Notes to Editors
1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
2. Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
3. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.
Media enquiries Wailim Wong, RNN: 07778 683 723 or Wailim.firstname.lastname@example.org HSE out of hours: 0151 922 1221
Issued on behalf of HSE by the Regional News Network South West Wales