Firm fined after worker fractures back in roof-light fall

A company has been fined £12,000 after a worker installing a roof light fractured his back and ribs in a fall.

Renka, a Worcestershire-based supplier of windows and doors, was found to have breached workplace-safety regulations following the incident in Cheshire in August 2021.

Workers from the company were attempting to install a roof light at a property on Village Lane, Frodsham, but found the tower scaffold with which they had been provided was too large and could not be placed in the right position.

As a result, they made a platform using the boards from the tower scaffold, wedging the boards between the roof joists.

They then gained access to the work area via the external scaffolding.

Following the installation of the roof-light frame, one of the workers stepped from the roof onto the platform.

At that point, a board broke, which caused the 35-year-old man to fall about 5 metres to the ground, sustaining fractures to his back and ribs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Renka had failed to adequately plan the work at height or provide suitable equipment to allow the work to be carried out safely.

The investigation also found that the company’s employees had not been provided with any instruction as to how the work should be carried out or adequate training for working at height.

Renka, of Birmingham Road, Marlbrook, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £3,860 in costs at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court earlier this week.

HSE inspector Sara Andrews said the fall could have been avoided, and that the worker was lucky to have escaped so lightly.

“The incident could have been prevented by the adequate planning of the work and the provision of suitable equipment for work at height, together with relevant training and instructions,” she said.

“It is fortunate that the injuries suffered by the employee were not far more serious, or even fatal.”

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