Worker falls through skylight on a cattle barn

A family partnership has been fined after a worker fell through a skylight which was part of a cattle shed roof.

The worker was part of a company which had been contracted to carry out a one day silage harvest but while carrying out the work he became involved in helping the family partnership in sheeting the silage by lowering plastic sheeting from the cattle shed roof.  Unfortunately the worker tripped and fell through a skylight onto the concrete floor, breaking his arm and elbow.

The HSE's investigation found that the work on the roof had not been planned and there was no safe system to prevent falls off or through the fragile roof.  As a result the family pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations which requires that “Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

Falls are the second highest cause of death in agriculture, accounting for around 8 fatalities a year. In its guidance for working at height in agriculture, the HSE states that “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.”  Products such as our Board-Walk lightweight aluminium walkway and our Low Level Roof Edge Protection System allow work to be carried out on or near to fragile materials in complete safety.  Edge protection is available with both systems, to prevent workers from falling from the system onto the fragile material as recommended by the HSE.

For further information on working on fragile roofs, please see our Blog Tackling the Issues of Fragile Roof Safety.