Fines for businesses who fail to protect workers safety

Fines for businesses who fail to protect workers safety

In recent news there has been many different stories relating to workers suffering injuries due to roofing work. The three cases in question involved workers falling through roofs due to improper protection and safety evaluations. This type of incident is not uncommon, especially regarding the context of the job in which the incidents happened. However with modern health and safety legislation now enforced and known globally this type of incident should be a thing of the past.

In the first incident a worker was seriously injured when he fell eight feet through a roof light to the floor below. The victim worked for a Sawmill Company and was installing tin sheets onto a shed roof, the incident occurred on the 1st February 2013. The victim was on the roof of an adjacent shed which he had to cross over to the roof in question to install the tin roofing. The work involved the employee making several trips across both roofs, bringing back sheets each time. Eventually the employee fell through the roof, he suffered multiple fractures to his vertebrate and ribs and a cut to his head. Due to his injuries the victim now suffers impaired mobility to his spine and his injury is not expected to recover properly. The company in question was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

In the second incident two employees of a solar panel business fell 15ft through a fragile roof that had not been identified as a risk. The two employees had been installing solar panels on a building that was part of a farm. One of the employee’s escaped injury, however the other employee suffered a fracture to his sternum and back. The firm was fined £4,500 and told to pay costs of £1,500.
In the third incident a worker fell through a roof while he was attempting to fix a leak at a food packaging firm. A roof, two metres below, broke his fall but unfortunately the employee still suffered a broken rib and wrist. The employee had been contracted as part of his firm to fix leaks at the food packaging firm in question. Two firms were involved in the incident meaning that two fines were paid in sums of £7,000 and £10,000.

All of these cases have been in the news this month, this goes some way in presenting that the breach of health and safety regulations is still an on-going issue and a very common one. In all the above incidents, negligence played a huge part with none of the working environments being properly investigated or safety equipment enforced. Falls, especially through roofing, accounts for a fifth of all incidents which results from a fall from height. Speaking about one of the incidents, HSE Inspector, Lesley Hammond commented “This was an entirely avoidable incident. Falling from height is one of the most common reasons for injuries and even fatalities at work, and it is fortunate that the individual in question survived such a fall, albeit with significant injuries.”

[1] “Firm in court over worker’s multiple injuries”, Health and Safety Executive,
[2] “Solar panel installer in court after workers’ fall through roof”, H&Vnews,
[3] “Firms fined after worker falls through roof”, LCrudington, Canterbury Times,