Construction company fined £60,000 for roof fall

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The Health and Safety Executive has fined a construction company £60,000 after an employee fell through a skylight roof…

Race Interiors Ltd has been hit with a significant fine after being found guilty of safety failings that led to an employee sustaining life-changing injuries.

Petros Pogosyan, an Armenian national, fell through a skylight while working at a London industrial estate on18 January.

The 55-year-old man fell four and a half metres onto a concrete floor. The accident, which took place at Unit 1, Roseberry Industrial Estate, London, left Pogosyan partially deaf and with brain damage. He is also paralysed from the waist down after his back was fractured.

The case was heard before Southwark Crown Court. Race Interiors Ltd pleaded guilty to safety failings and was fined £60,000 with costs of £7,784.

However, in an usual move the fine was converted into a compensation order, which will be paid directly to the victim. It was described by the judge as “an exceptional case” due to the fact the contractor is in a dispute with its insurance company. This means the victim is unlikely to receive compensation for his injuries. Pogosyan, who will require personal care for the rest of his life, will be unable to work. His wife gave up her employment to care for him full time.

Judge May QC, who presided over the case, said the accident was “highly foreseeable” and said the company did not meet the required standards to manage risks at work.

HSE inspector Simon Hester said: “This tragedy should not have happened. Nobody should work on a roof without proper planning.

“It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent a fall. Mr Pogosyan could have been killed by his fall and now suffers massive and irreversible life-changing injuries.”

The HSE has published information on fragile roofs, which can be viewed here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis5.pdf

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