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Young worker in asbestos roof fall

Reactive Roofing (UK), a roofing company based in Hertfordshire, has been fined £25,000 after one of its workers fell through a thin asbestos roof whilst at work.

The worker, who is only 23-years-old and who did not want to be named, fell four metres after the roof gave way when he was carrying out temporary work on a building at a business park.

The young man was in hospital for five days following the accident due to the serious nature of his injuries, which included bruising to his back, cuts to his legs and head, which required stitching, skull fractures and a fracture to his eye socket.

Reactive Roofing (UK) had completely failed to carry out a risk assessment for the job being undertaken and had not made any provision for the safety of their workers whilst working at height.

The magistrate's court in Stevenage heard how Reactive Roofing (UK) made their workers walk only on scaffold boards placed on top of the asbestos roof, which was extremely fragile. They were working on securing wooden batons covered in tarpaulin to the roof when the accident happened.

The Health and Safety Inspector gave evidence to the court that such use of scaffolding boards was very dangerous and not accepted practice in these circumstances. In addition, all other workers were put at risk for a number of days whilst working on site and it was lucky that the four metre fall did not result in a fatal accident.

Reactive Roofing paid £17,500 in a fine for breach of the Work at Heights Regulations and was ordered to pay an additional £7,000 in costs.

Diane Parker, head of personal injury at Atherton Godfrey, said: "Reactive Roofing's actions show how much work still needs to be done to educate employers about health and safety at work. Workplace accidents can cost lives and impacts the victims' families and their work colleagues, who need to feel confident that they are working in a secure environment."

If you or a member of your family has had an accident at work you should speak with a solicitor to decide whether you want to take things further.


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