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Fine After Fragile Skylight Fall

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The dangers of unprotected skylights and failing to plan work at height properly has again been highlighted after a worker sustained serious, life changing injuries having fallen through a fragile skylight.

The worker who was employed by a scaffolding company was erecting an access tower and guardrails around the roof of industrial units.  After erecting the access tower, the worker went to help colleagues install the guardrail when fell about 5m through a skylight to the floor below and suffered numerous serious fractures to his pelvis, wrists, ribs, elbow and arm. He was in hospital for three weeks, requires ongoing physiotherapy.  As a result, he has been registered disabled, has had to move to an adapted flat and cannot return to work. His wife has had to give up work in order to care for him.

The HSE’s investigation found that the scaffolding company had failed in its duty to ensure the work at height was properly planned, supervised and carried out safely. Insufficient measures were taken to prevent a fall through the fragile roof whilst work was being carried out.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and has been fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,666.80.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities and injuries in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”

The Reality

The workers injuries were life changing for both him and his family. “He could have easily been killed. This serious incident could have been avoided if the work had been properly planned to reduce risk.”

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case, all too often we hear about serious injuries and fatalities as a result of falls through unprotected skylights.  Fragile skylights are not designed to support a person’s weight so they should be protected and work around them planned properly.  Permanent skylight protection can be provided by our Easi-Cover, if a temporary solution is required then our Roof Walk mesh walkway system provides safe access from the eaves to ridge, spreading the weight across support battens to allow workers to confidently move along the full length of the system. 

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