Unsafe demolishion leads to fine

A construction company has been fined £150,000 with costs after a worker fractured his spine while demolishing a farm building.

The court heard that the employee was removing roof sheets from a farm building when he fell some 4m through one of the asbestos cement roof sheets onto the ground below.  

The HSE investigation found that although both a risk assessment and method statement were in place to remove the sheets from underneath the roof, this method was changed, and they were removed from above.  It was during this process that the employee fell.

The construction company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(a) and Regulation 4 (1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations which require every employer to ensure that work at height is properly planned and “carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe,”

The Regulation also includes a requirement for the selection of work equipment for work at height and outlines what considerations must be taken into account during the selection process. For example, the selection process could have identified our Board-Walk walkway system as suitable for providing a safe working position for the removal of the roof sheets.

Commenting after the hearing, the HSE Inspector said: “Suitable and sufficient measures should have been in place through the use of alternative access equipment.  This would have negated the need for the employee to be on the roof of the building, therefore eliminating the risk of a fall from height through the roof sheets.”