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Four metre fall lands company in court

Photo shows badly-protected skylight where a roofing worker plunged four metres through a roof opening

A construction company based in South East London has been prosecuted for a serious safety breach after a roofing worker plunged four metres through a badly-protected skylight.

The 45 year-old worker, Paul Shaw, of Maidstone, suffered multiple fracture injuries, including a broken right arm, when he fell through the roof opening which had been covered only with a thick plastic.

The incident, on 29 February 2012, took place at a property in Tonbridge, Kent, where building firm Bryen & Langley Ltd. were the lead contractor overseeing the construction of an extension and swimming pool.

On 23 May, Maidstone Magistrates heard that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Bryen & Langley Ltd. had failed to ensure that proper safeguards were in place to prevent anyone falling when work was underway at height.

The court was told that skylight openings above the swimming pool had been covered with plywood sheeting. This was changed to thick plastic to allow some natural light through and to enable workers to lower materials into the pool area if needed. The plastic was then covered with pallets and held down by timbers.

Mr Shaw, who was employed by a roofing sub-contractor on site, went up to the swimming pool roof and stepped on to a skylight opening believing it was safe to do so. It was not. The hole was simply covered by the plastic and he fell straight through landing on the pool’s concrete walkway.

Mr Shaw now has restricted movement in his wrist but was able to return to work after some five months.

Bryen & Langley, of Footscray Road, Eltham, London, was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £9,209 in costs by Magistrates after admitting breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005.


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