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  3. Roof worker fortunate to escape with broken back, says HSE

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has stated a worker was lucky not to have sustained more serious injuries during a fall from a roof in Cornwall.

Lewis Harding, 28, had been working on a fragile roof to fit solar panels at Venn Farm near Bude on May 19, 2015. Taunton Magistrates Court heard that the worker fell from the roof through a skylight, breaking his back in three places. He had fallen over three metres to the ground. The HSE conducted an investigation, finding that inadequate precautions had been taken to prevent the fall from happening.

The company, Eco NRG Solutions Ltd, based in Bridgwater, had failed to provide suitable protection for workers who were working at height. Rather than provision of under-roof netting, boarding or edge protection, the worker was relying on the use of harnesses, which was ineffective.

 

The investigation found that unsafe working practices had been occurring for a long time before the accident happened, and had continued afterwards. The director of the company, Jon Antoniou, was blamed for the lack of preventative measures and protection of workers

The company was found guilty of breaching the Work at Height Regulations, and was fined £115,000 with costs of £2,879.60 to be paid. The director was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act, and fined £5,000 along with costs of £1,957.40.

The HSE inspectors stressed the importance of directors being aware of their obligations, which could include a variety of actions, including the provision of PPE and workwear.

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