A manufacturing company has been prosecuted after the death of a worker who fell through a factory roof skylight onto the concrete floor below.
The court heard that maintenance workers regularly accessed the roofs to carry out various tasks but there were no proper precautions to prevent them falling. The company's management failed to appreciate the risks to their maintenance workers when working on the roofs and had carried out an inadequate generic risk assessment, which failed to identify the risks and control measures necessary for its employees working at height.
Commenting after the case, the HSE Inspector said: “The senior management of companies must learn from this tragic case that they need to take the health and safety of their workers seriously. In this case a confusing system of work had developed and unintentionally encouraged dangerous methods. Falls from height continue to account for a significant proportion of all workplace deaths and serious injuries. Falls through fragile roofs and skylights sadly happen all too often. Businesses should ensure that all roof work including routine maintenance is properly planned and carried out safely.”
The company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £210,000 and ordered to pay costs of £36,493.52.
According to the HSE, there are on average 7 deaths a year as a result of falls through skylights and roof lights. With the range of equipment available to allow work to be carried out safely, accidents such as these can easily be prevented. Easi-Dec has a range of products, such as the Roof Walk aluminium walkway, which have been designed specifically to provide safety when working on roofs were rooflights and skylights are present or when working on fragile roofs.