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Firm fined after worker breaks neck and back in roof fall

A housing repair and maintenance company has been fined after a Nottingham worker suffered serious neck and back fractures falling 2.4 metres through a fragile roof.

The 49-year-old employee needed to wear a body and neck brace for three months after falling head first through an outhouse roof in St Mary's Close, Gedling on 28 July 2010.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which brought the prosecution, told Nottingham magistrates that the work, carried out by Morrison Facilities Service Ltd. of Glasgow on behalf of Gedling Homes, had not been properly planned, supervised or carried out in a safe manner by trained staff.

The court heard that two workers were replacing cement sheets on a fragile, flat roof of a single storey outhouse. The employee accessed the roof via the top section of a triple ladder placed across it, with his colleague working from the bottom of the ladder which rested against a wall.

During the work, one of the sheets started to collapse but was left still hanging from the roof. The worker below was able to hang on to this section, while the employee attempted to get off the roof. However, while going back down the ladder, he put his hand on the collapsed sheet and immediately fell straight through it, head first, landing on a concrete floor.

The man spent ten days in Nottingham’s Queens Medical Centre and had to wear a body and neck brace for three months every time he was mobile. He was in constant pain and had to be helped with washing and dressing during this time. He also needed to walk with a stick for several weeks after the incident.

Morrison Facilities Service Ltd., of Tannochside Park, Uddingston, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,452.


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