Worker was using homemade crawling boards

An engineering construction company has been prosecuted after a worker suffered severe injuries falling from a barn roof.

The worker was using two homemade crawling boards to repair a fibreboard barn roof when he fell 6m onto the floor below and sustained serious head, hip and lung injuries.

The court heard that the victim was working with colleagues to replace roofing panels.  One colleague was under the roof in a 'man basket' that had been attached to a telehandler.   When the incident occurred, he had to climb down the boom of the telehandler to help his colleague.

The subsequent HSE investigation found that there were insufficient platforms or coverings for the roof to protect workers from falling through the roof.  The risk assessment and method statement which should have told the workers how to carry out the work safely was in the office and was not specific to the job and there were no separate controls for the man basket, leaving the worker stranded when his colleague fell.

The engineering construction company pleaded guilty to Sections 4(1) and 9 (2) of the Working at Height Regulations and was fined £267,000 with costs and a victim surcharge.

Think Roof Safety, Think Board-Walk

We've written in the past about the hazards associated with working on fragile roofs such as on barns.  Falls through fragile roofs account for almost a fifth of all the fatal accidents which result from a fall from height in the construction industry and occur mainly to those working in the building maintenance sector when carrying out small, short-term maintenance and cleaning jobs.   The HSE estimates that on average 7 people are killed each year after falling through a fragile roof or fragile roof light. Many others suffer permanent disabling injury. These accidents tend to happen on roofs of factories, warehouses and farm buildings when roof repair work or cleaning is being carried out.

These incidents can be easily prevented by taking simple steps such as assessing risks, planning work, using the correct equipment and making sure everyone is trained on how to work safely can help to reduce the risk of an accident and therefore a prosecution.

Instead of using homemade crawling boards, the work could have been carried out quickly and safely using our lightweight aluminium Board-Walk system which provides a safe working position for short duration roof maintenance.  Board-Walk is easily portable and spreads the load on support battens making it suitable for fragile roofs such as the barn where the work was being carried out.