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Farming Business Sentenced After Roof Fall Injury

A Perthshire farming business has been fined for safety failings after a worker was injured when he fell through a roof light of a cattle barn.

The 18-year-old had been lifted by a colleague onto the roof in a basket attached to a telehandler forklift truck to carry out work clearing gutters. He walked to the far end of the roof, stepping over a PVC roof light he knew was fragile and would not take his weight.

But on his return he did not notice the roof light, which broke under his weight when he stepped on it. He fell more than three metres and landed on the concrete passageway below with his lower legs caught through a feed barrier. He was taken to hospital with a fractured skull, bleeding inside the skull, bruising to his face and a laceration above his left eye.

A subsequent Health and Safety Executive investigation found the workers had not been issued with instructions and their work was unsupervised. Neither of the men had been trained to work at height, let alone on fragile roof surfaces.

The investigation concluded that the company had failed to properly plan and appropriately supervise work being carried out at height, and ensure that the work was carried out in a safe manner. It was fined £12,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Falls through fragile roofs and fragile roof lights account for almost a fifth of all the fatal incidents that result from a fall from height in the construction industry. On average seven people are killed each year after falling through a fragile roof or fragile roof light. Many others suffer permanent disabling injury.

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