Contractors Weiser Construction Ltd and Complete Cladding Systems Ltd have both received large fines for safety breaches after a worker fell from height and suffered life changing injuries
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 4 January 2016, Brian Robinson was working as a sheeter cladder at the Weiser Construction site at the John Cotton factory in West Yorkshire. He was on a factory roof affixing sheet metal cladding and capping to the gable end of an adjoining building. Whilst tying the cappings to the roof, Brian Robinson fell through a roof light 9.7m into the active factory area below. He suffered an open fracture to his femur and multiple fractures to his pelvis. He underwent operations to insert six pins into his pelvis, two pins to the top and two pins to the bottom of his femur.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered the original scaffold that had been constructed upon the roof had been removed prior to cladding works being completed. Spandeck boards with guardrails were the preferred control measure but use of these boards meant that workers could not affix the handrails in situ.
No nets had been scheduled to be used in the area of the factory and as Brian Robinson fell, the top half of his legs struck the top of a storage cage, approximately 2.4m high, before continuing his fall to the floor behind the storage cage.
Weiser Construction Ltd (now in liquidation) of Leeds pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £145,000 with £5,046.30 costs.
Complete Cladding Systems Ltd of Toronto, Bishop Auckland pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1074 and has been fined £165,000 with £5,114.49 costs.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson said: “Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.
“This was a wholly avoidable incident, caused by the failure of the principal contractor to manage and monitor the works to ensure the correct work equipment was being used. This risk was further amplified by the cladding company’s failure to ensure suitable measures were in place to prevent persons falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”