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A company from Malton, Yorkshire, was recently fined after one of its workers fell whilst working at height, fracturing his skull.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an investigation into an incident which occurred whilst Mitchell Roofing Ltd was replacing roof lights. The work was being carried out for Monk Bridge Construction Co Ltd at Elvington in York. Whilst working on the roof, the worker slipped and fell through the inner roof sheet, falling seven metres to the ground. The employee sustained severe injuries, including a fractured skull.

In the course of the investigation, HSE discovered that the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment for the work. It was also found that precautions hadn't been put in place to prevent anyone falling from the edge of the roof, or through parts of the roof, which were deemed fragile. Although the defendant had previously carried out work at the site putting the correct precautions in place and without incident, no planning or precautions were used for the minor work of replacing the roof lights. Mitchell Roofing Ltd was fined £10,000 by York Magistrates Court, and ordered to pay costs of £1,355, following breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Following the hearing, Julian Franklin, an inspector from HSE, commented that even minor work being carried out on roofs should have appropriate planning and necessary precautions put in place. For many companies this may involve the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) or by implementing the use of specialist workwear if necessary.

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