Solar and biomass company fined £32k for serious fall

A Yorkshire-based biomass and solar heating systems company has been fined £32,000 after a worker suffered a serious injury following a fall.

The worker was installing a flue for a biomass heating system at a farm in North Yorkshire in March 2015 when the fall occurred. After originally attempting to complete the work from a ladder at the side of the outbuilding, he resorted to climbing onto the roof to complete the works when this was ineffective.

Whilst working on the roof, the operative fell a distance of around 2 metres through a fragile cement sheet, suffering injuries including broken bones in the left ankle.

Beverley Magistrates court heard that an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company had failed to adequately plan the installation of the heating system as well as the accompanying work at height. The investigation also found the company had failed to provide suitable work at height equipment.

Duncan Plumbing Heating and Electrics Ltd of Rudgate Business Park, Tockwith, North Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was fined £32,000, and ordered to pay £2,424.60 in costs

After the hearing, HSE inspector James Harvey 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 case highlights the importance of following well-known industry guidance to plan and assess the work at height requirements needed to complete the work safely.”

Solution

A vital part of preparing for and carrying out work at height is ensuring all operatives have the correct equipment. The fall through the fragile roof panel could have been prevented by the use of a fragile roof safety solution, such as our Board-Walk system.

The Board-Walk is a lightweight aluminium walkway which allows access from eaves to ridge whilst spreading the load on support battens, providing the user with a safer working position. The Board-Walk is the perfect solution for working on fragile roofs, and can be installed to run vertically up, down, or horizontally across the roof.

For more information about the Board-Walk, or any of our other innovative solutions for roof access and working at height, call us on 01767 691812 or use our online contact form.