Man fined £2k after worker’s fall led to severe injury

A Wick man has been fined for health and safety failings which left a worker with severe injuries.

Man fined £2k after worker's fall led to severe injury

The exterior of the grain store

William Swanson, who traded as LTS Construction, pled guilty to a breach of working at height regulations at Wick Sheriff Court on 4 October 2021. He was fined £2,000

The court heard that on 25 September 2019 at Wester Olrig Farm, Thurso that Swanson and two employees, who erected and repaired agricultural and industrial sheds, were undertaking work to replace damaged cement roof sheets and Perspex roof lights on the roof of a grain store.

They used a ladder to access the roof and a JCB Loadall Telescopic Handler was to be used to receive the broken roof sheets.

The first employee to gain access to the roof walked across the bolts that fixed the sheets onto the steel battens that supported the sheets. The second employee went up a few minutes after and shortly thereafter stepped onto a moss-covered Perspex roof light which gave way and he fell at least four and a half metres onto the concrete floor below.

The man suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs, a broken pelvis and a broken wrist as a result of the fall. He has not worked since this incident and remains under the care of an orthopaedic specialist. He suffers from short term memory loss.

The Health and Safety Executive investigation found that Swanson had failed in his responsibilities to ensure that the work was properly planned and that the appropriate risk control measures were in place. These measures should have included perimeter edge protection, crawling boards or staging on the roof to spread the weight of persons walking on the roof and safety nets erected beneath the roof were in place.

Man fined £2k after worker's fall led to severe injury

The broken perspex roof light and area of the fall

LTS Construction ceased trading in August 2020.

William Swanson pled guilty at the earliest opportunity to contraventions of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 4(1)(a) and (c) and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Section 33(1)(c) at Wick Sheriff Court on 4 October 2021 and was fined £2,000

Alistair Duncan, head of the Health and Safety Investigation Unit, said: “This was an accident that resulted in severe injuries that could have been avoided if William Swanson had put in place the appropriate planning and protective measures.

“This incident could well have proved fatal and it has irrevocably changed a man’s life.

“Falls from height are usually the greatest single cause of death and serious injury to workers within the construction industry.

“Hopefully this prosecution will remind other employers that failure to fulfil their obligations can have severe and potentially tragic consequences and that they will be held to account for their failings.”

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