Firm fined after man’s roof fall

Courts: Reports from the law courts.
Courts: Reports from the law courts.

A MECHANICAL engineering company has been fined £10,000 after a subcontractor from Rotherham suffered serious back injuries after falling through a roof.

Self-employed roofer Michael Hawkins, aged 23, fell six metres through a fragile roof at a large industrial building at Cotes Park Lane, Somercotes, Derbyshire.

He underwent six operations in six months including a large skin graft to his back and has been unable to return to work since the accident happened on June 16, 2009.

Mr Hawkins wasw subcontracted by Mechanical Solutions Ltd, of Mansfield, which was employed by the building’s owners to help cover the asbestos cement roof with steel cladding.

It was his first day on site.

Derby magistrates heard the company had failed to ensure the work was properly planned, appropriately supervised or carried out in a safe manner.

The HSE investigation found the company failed to identify how fragile the roof was.

The court heard the company’s own method statement stated that harnesses were to be used near unprotected edges.

But no provision had been made for use of harnesses in either the single thickness area where the incident occurred or the adjacent unguarded roof edge.

The method statement also stated that all skylights and openings must be protected, but no evidence of this was found.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,366.

Mr Hawkins said: “I have suffered serious injuries, numerous surgical procedures and permanent scarring as a direct result of the company’s failure to ensure that the task could be carried out safely.”