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Building firm fined after worker suffers injuries from fall
Published:  11 December, 2014

Building firm Charles Henderson Construction has been fined for neglecting safety, after a carpenter broke his collarbone and rib when he fell through an unprotected roof light opening.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that the Camden-based carpenter, who does not wish to be named, was carrying insulation material across the single-storey roof of an extension they were building when he fell through the roof light opening. He landed on open joists on the ground floor some two and a half metres below.

The worker suffered concussion and a head wound as well as the fractures, and needed surgery to insert a metal plate in his shoulder. He has since been able to return to work.

HSE’s investigation into the incident on 20 March, 2014, identified that Charles Henderson Construction had failed to put suitable measures in place to prevent workers falling from height. This was attributable to the firm’s lack of managerial health and safety competence, and its failure to put into practice the findings of its risk assessment.

Charles Henderson Construction of Brent, London, was prosecuted yesterday (10 December). The firm was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,118 in costs after admitting a breach of the Work at Height Regulations.

“This was a preventable incident,” said HSE inspector Stephron Baker Holmes after the hearing. “The risks of falling during roof work are easily understood, even from a single-storey level. The company needed to do something about these risks, but it failed to put in place the safeguards that are standard practice in the industry as well as common sense: edge protection and covers over roof openings.

“As a result, a worker suffered painful injuries and, had he landed on his head when he fell, it could have been much worse. Falls from height by workers in construction are far too commonplace and fatalities happen too often.

“I am sure Charles Henderson Construction would wish to turn the clock back and take the steps needed to prevent falls, but the answer is to do this in the first place.”