A partner in a building and roofing company has been fined after a worker plunged nearly six metres to the ground falling through a fragile roof light and sustaining multiple injuries.
Przemyslaw Borkiewicz, 24, of Mutley, Plymouth, was carrying out the work at the Evans Halshaw garage in Saltash on 12 December 2012 with poor supervision and no safety equipment which could have prevented or lessened the impact of his fall.
The incident was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which prosecuted Jim Woodley, the person in control of the work (trading as Direct Property Services), at Plymouth Magistrates court on Friday (20 February 2015).
The court heard that Mr Borkiewicz was walking across the roof to take a bucket to his colleague when he stepped on and fell through one of several Perspex roof lights set into the roof. In addition to Mr Borkiewicz two other workers at the site were put at risk of falling through the roof lights.
HSE’s inquiries found that the work was supervised by someone who had no roofing or working at height qualifications and no measures had been taken to do the task safely, such as placing boards with edge protection on the roof or using a cherry picker to do the job.
Mr Woodley, of Direct Property Services, Mannamead, Plymouth pleaded guilty to a breach of Work at Height regulations, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,517 in costs.
HSE Inspector, Helena Allum, speaking after the hearing, said:
“Mr Borkiewicz suffered severe multiple injuries, including head injuries and experienced great pain but was lucky not to have lost his life in this incident.
“Falls from height are the biggest cause of workplace deaths and it’s crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and that sufficient measures are put in place to protect staff from the risks.
“There is no excuse for employers failing to safeguard workers who have to work at height.”
Further information about working safely at height can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/falls
Notes to Editors
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
Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations states: “Every employer shall ensure that work at height is (a) properly planned; (b) appropriately supervised; and (c) carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe, and that its planning includes the selection of work equipment in accordance with regulation 7.”
HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.