Construction firm fined after roof collapses on Perth site
John Quinn, 35, and Joshua Perry, 21, were employed by Lichfield-based Clive Thompson Installations Ltd when on 22 January 2014 they accessed the partially completed roof of a vehicle spray booth in Perth in order to fit an extractor fan.
Both workers fell over four metres when the spray booth collapsed.
Mr Quinn sustained multiple fractures to both his heels that resulted in a four week stay in hospital and several operations. He had to use a wheelchair for several weeks after his release from hospital. He now uses crutches, cannot stand for long and continues to have severe pain in both feet. In addition to the physical symptoms Mr Quinn has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mr Perry suffered multiple fractures to his spine and ankle and extensive soft tissue damage to other parts of his body including nerve damage to his right leg and foot. He has required ongoing surgery and bone grafts and had to wear a full body spinal cast for 16 weeks. He has suffered financially and emotionally since the incident.
Perth Sheriff Court heard that the company did not provide their employees with a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the work they were due to carry out. Having failed to visit the site before carrying out the work they were unaware of any site specific hazards and could not therefore provide instruction on where to attach a fall protection harness.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that although Clive Thompson Installation Ltd were aware that the roofs of the booths were fragile and that fitting extractor fans required employees to cross the roof, no safe system of work was put in place. The company also failed to provide suitable training for their employees for working on fragile roofs.
Clive Thompson Installation Ltd of Tamworth Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire, was fined £10,000 after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Following the case, HSE inspector Norman Buchanan said: “This was an entirely avoidable incident. Falling from height is one of the most common reasons for injuries and fatalities at work.
“Clive Thompson Installations Ltd should have been aware of the risks and the precautions that needed to be taken before starting the work. The dangers of fragile roofs are well known and site specific plans for where to secure safety harnesses should have been put in place
“By failing to properly plan the work and provide sufficient training, two workers have suffered serious injuries which have had a profound effect on their lives”
The HSE said that falling through fragile roofs accounts for almost a fifth of all fatal incidents at work, claiming the lives of seven people in the UK on average every year.