Thursday, 5 July 2012

Company boss fined after worker left paralysed

A demolition boss has been prosecuted after a worker was left paralysed following a fall from the roof of a Sunderland pub.

The 67-year-old worker was working for the demolition company, when the incident happened on 29 June 2010.

The demolition company was demolishing a pub and had chosen to remove the slates and timbers of the pitched roof by hand. A mobile access platform was used to provide access for the workers and act as a barrier to prevent falls from the roof edge.

However, as the platform did not cover the whole length of the roof, the demolition company should have implemented additional controls to provide a safe system of work but many of these controls were lacking, or where provided, not effective.

While working on the roof the worker fell two-storeys, around 18-20 feet to the ground below. He suffered serious injuries including several fractures to three vertebrae, his right elbow and both bones of his lower right leg. He also suffered a dislocated right hip and his right lung collapsed.

As a result of the terrible injuries to his spine, all his limbs are now paralysed and he requires permanent care in a nursing home.

The owner of the demolition company was fined a total of £20,000 and ordered to pay £7,434 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 6(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

HSE Inspector Keith Partington, said:

"The building could have been safely demolished by remote mechanical means using the excavator that was on the site - without the risks to the public, which the defendant claimed was the reason for manually dismantling the roof.

"In choosing to undertake the work at height the system the defendant used was not sufficiently robust enough to prevent one of his employees falling from the roof level to the ground which resulted in injuries that have left this worker in a condition whereby he now needs permanent care to assist him in his daily living.

Falls from height are one of the largest causes of death and serious injury in the construction industry and thus work at height should be planned for carefully, with suitable and sufficient instruction and supervision when executed.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in an accident which has resulted in you sustaining injury and would like a free and confidential discussion with one of our specialised Solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 389 1978 or visit our website at You can also follow us on Twitter (@ForsterDeanLtd) and find Forster Dean Solicitors on Facebook

Mofozzul Hussain LLB (Hons) -Office Manager (Birkenhead) and Personal Injury Solicitor

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