Three construction companies fined after worker suffers head injury following fragile roof fall

Three construction firms have been fined almost half a million pounds after a worker suffered a life-threatening head injury when he fell more than seven metres through an unguarded asbestos roof he was replacing.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Rafal Myslim was standing on the fragile roof at Dengie Crops Ltd in Asheldem, when the asbestos sheeting gave way and he fell 7.5 metres onto a concrete floor, hitting a number of pipes within the building on the way down.

There was no safety netting or other protective equipment to prevent him from falling and he suffered a hematoma on the brain.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found three companies - Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd of Ulting, Essex, Balsham (Buildings) Ltd of Balsham, Cambridge and Strong Clad Ltd of Castle Hedingham, Essex - were at fault for the fall.

The building owner, Dengie Crops Ltd, contracted Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd to help it replace the roof. Ernest Doe & Sons is a supplier of agricultural and construction machinery and not a building contractor. As it did not have the appropriate experience, it subcontracted the work to Balsham (Buildings) Ltd, which worked out how the roof replacement should take place. Balsham then subcontracted the actual replacement of the roof to Strong Clad Ltd.

According to the HSE, Ernest Doe & Sons was unable to act effectively in its role as principal contractor because it had no experience of working in construction.

It could not effectively oversee Balsham’s plans. None of the parties involved put in place safety measures for 40% of the roof that did not have netting below.

According to the HSE, they relied too heavily on the verbal briefings to workers reminding them of where the netting was rather than putting in place effective safety measures for the whole roof.

Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd, of Ulting, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. It was fined £360,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000.

Balsham (Buildings) Ltd, of Balsham, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. It was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000.

Strong Clad Ltd, of Castle Hedingham, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. It was fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000.

HSE inspector Adam Hills said: “The dangers of working on fragile roofs are well documented. Every year too many people are killed or seriously injured due to falls from height while carrying out this work.

“Work at height requires adequate planning, organisation and communication between all parties. This incident was entirely preventable and Mr Myslim is lucky to be alive.”

Your News

If you've got a story that would be of interest to Builder & Engineer readers, send us an email

Features

2017-03-29 11:31

Jeremy Gould, VP sales Europe, TomTom Telematics, discusses how technological developments in vehicle telematics have opened up new workflow management possibilities for the construction industry

2017-03-21 10:31

With the demand of oil increasing, it’s estimated that the Earth will reach its full capacity for oil consumption at some point within the next 20 years. This is despite the production of oil decreasing, and the construction industry is no exception to this, reports Niftylift.

2017-03-17 11:55

With construction firms leading the way in drone technology, Claire Cameron takes a closer look at how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used onsite

2017-03-07 17:20

While the physical safety of workers is prioritised on construction sites, mental health is often overlooked, reports Claire Cameron

2017-02-28 15:53

As part of an ongoing revamp, the Joint Contracts Tribunal has rolled out an updated suite of standard form construction contracts for Design & Build. John Cleaveley, partner and head of construction at Weightmans LLP, takes a look at the changes

2017-01-04 10:35

As pressure mounts to achieve the government’s housebuilding objectives, the effective regeneration of brownfield land is becoming increasingly important. Builder & Engineer takes a look at the challenges of regenerating contaminated land

2016-12-30 10:15

New colour-coded system will see traditional helmet colour head out of site

2016-12-30 10:04

Building Information Modelling – or BIM as it is more commonly known – has become something of a buzz word for the construction sector since the Government launched its Construction 2025 strategy in 2011. Claire Cameron investigates why firms should be embracing the technology

Free E-newsletter Sign-Up

Sign up for our free e-newsletter

Looking for a company or service?