Two companies fined almost £1m after waiting room fall

Two companies have been fined almost £1m in total after a painter suffered severe ligament damage due to a fall through a fragile waiting room roof in 2015.

The companies were fined £900,000 and £65,000 separately according to their size after they admitted failing to put proper procedures and safeguards in place, which could have prevented the 31-year-old from falling through the waiting room ceiling.

The worker has been unable to return to work as an industrial painter since falling around 10 feet to the ground.

Croydon Crown Court heard that the two companies agreed a £12m contract with Network Rail to undertake the replacement of station floor surfaces, canopy roofs and cladding.

The painter and a colleague were given a site induction when they arrived for work but they were not briefed on the risk assessment. The two workers were also not given another safety briefing of the day of the accident, nor were they warned about fragile roofs, and at 9.40am the victim fell through the unguarded suspended ceiling into the waiting room below.

The companies were fined after admitting charges under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Costs of £7,157 were also awarded.

A spokesman for the Office of Rail and Road said: “The fines handed out send a powerful message to the industry that the safety of workers on the railways is absolutely paramount, and proper risk assessments and briefings must be carried out and followed.

“The ORR is committed to protecting the safety of workers and passengers and will not hesitate to take enforcement action when and where it is necessary.”

Fragile roofs are one of the largest contributors to fall from height injuries and deaths in the UK. The Work at Height Regulations 2005, amended by the Work at Height (Amendment) Regulations 2007, states: ‘no one must ever work on or from, or walk over, fragile roofs unless platforms, covers or similar are provided which will adequately support their weight.’

To combat this risk, Easi-Dec produces and supplies fragile roof access systems such as the Board-Walk, a lightweight aluminium walkway which spreads the load on support battens, providing the user with a safer working position.

To find out more about how systems such as Board-Walk can make work on fragile roofs safer, call our product experts on 01767 691812 or use our online contact form.