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Is your employer gambling with your safety?

On 19 May, the owners of a roofing company and a scaffolding firm were both fined at Northampton Magistrates’ Court after a labourer fell through a roof while carrying out repair work.
A string of health and safety breaches led to Stephen Allibon, a labourer with Industrial Roofing Services, falling nine metres to the ground sustaining multiple fractures to his arm, face and head and a punctured lung. His injuries were so severe that Stephen has been unable to work since the accident in August 2012. The HSE found that both companies had agreed safety precautions before the work started but they had then failed to make sure that they were properly implemented throughout the course of the work and this had exposed the workers to ‘extreme risk’.
The week before, a London property developer was fined after an eagle-eyed safety inspector spotted dangerous work at height while he was travelling past the construction site on a train. Work was taking place on the roof of a three storey building with absolutely no measures in place to prevent a fall. The owner of the site, Peter Ross, of Putney was prosecuted as the main contractor and construction manager for the project.
In Sunderland on 13 May, another construction firm was fined after one of their workers was seriously injured when they fell three metres to the ground. The 29-year old was working on the roof of a building in Newcastle when he fell and fractured two vertebrae. Thankfully, he is expected to make a full recovery in time. The firm, Brims Construction Limited, were fined for failing to provide suitable measures to prevent the fall, something they rectified immediately after the incident which had happened in September 2013.
Only the previous day, 12 May Sandwell Magistrates’ Court prosecuted the owners of Pellikaan (Construction) Limited, after a 19-year-old who was working for them suffered a fractured skull when he fell more than six metres from ‘unsuitable’ scaffolding while working on the construction of the new West Bromwich Leisure Centre.  The worker fell with such force that the impact broke the hard hat he was wearing and also shattered his ankle. The HSE said that this case illustrated the importance of using the right equipment for the job. Had more appropriate equipment been used, the incident would not have happened.
While in Southampton on 7 May, Nationwide Roofing and Cladding Ltd were fined for serious safety failings at Westminster Magistrates’ Court after one of their workers suffered life changing injuries when he fell five metres through a church roof that was being repaired. Allen Smith, a father of three, sustained a smashed pelvis, collapsed lung and head injuries in the fall in October 2011 and is unlikely to ever be able to work again.  The HSE served an enforcement notice on the company to prevent them from carrying out any further work until the sites had been made safe.
Diane Parker, partner and head of Atherton Godfrey’s Personal Injury department, said: “These cases illustrate just how seriously the HSE take safety breaches. None of these accidents should have happened – the work place regulations covering working at height are there for one reason only and that is to prevent accidents. Taking risks with employees safety is unacceptable and inevitably leads to someone suffering serious or even fatal injuries.”
If you have been injured in a fall at work, contact us today on 01302 320621. Our specialist Personal Injury Team includes lawyers who are experts at handling workplace accident claims.

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