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A stone quarrying firm in the South West has been fined after safety failings caused a worker to fall more than four metres, leaving him with a gash to the head and a broken hip.

In a case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Weymouth Magistrate's Court was told how the 50-year-old employee of Portland Stone Firms Limited fell through a fragile roof whilst replacing lighting.

Due to the cherry-picker usually used for the work being removed from the company's main depot by the firm, the worker was using a ladder and roof purlins to carry out the task. The court heard that having stepped off the purlins, the worker fell through the roof, landing 4.5 metres on the concrete floor below.

As well as the injuries sustained and enduring several operations, the worker also lost his job at the company.

The investigation by the HSE found that inadequate planning, supervision and working systems were at fault.

The investigation also found that Portland Stone Firms had failed to provide suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk and effects of a fall or slip. The HSE said that working platforms, perimeter protection, proper crawling boards and a safety net or PPE harness should all have been provided.

Pleading guilty to the charges brought, the firm was fined £20,000 and instructed to pay the court costs of £18,992.

Speaking after the verdict, HSE case inspector Mehtaab Hamid warned that employers need to properly plan and equip all work at height, with falls being one of the biggest causes of death and injury in the workplace.

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