Work at Height Fatality

I posted earlier on Work at Height injuries and company fines.

Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work at height is (a) properly planned; (b) appropriately supervised; and (c) carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe, . and that its planning includes the selection of work equipment.”

Regulation 6(3) states: “Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.”

Now a roofer has fallen to his death from an unsuitable and badly maintained ladder.

Aylesbury Crown Court (November 21st) heard that the self-employed roofer who was sub-contracted to a roofing firm on an ad-hoc basis, was working at the rear of a domestic property to install weatherproof eaves protectors. He accessed the roofline using a two-part extension ladder that was footed by the company director, who was also a close family friend. The exact circumstances of how he came to fall are unclear, but he evidently slipped after failing to maintain a secure contact with the ladder and the building as he tried to work.

Thames Valley Police attended the scene before Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was notified three days later. HSE’s investigation established that the choice of extension ladder was inappropriate, and that a more rigid system, such as a tower scaffold, should have been used instead.

After the hearing, the HSE Inspector said: “All work at height has to be properly planned and managed, and there were clear failings with the equipment used by Milton Keynes Roofing Ltd. Even short duration tasks need planning and foresight, and it is evident that had more appropriate equipment been provided then Mr Rowe’s tragic death could have been avoided. We were unable to find a direct link between the state of the ladder and his fall, but I also hope this case underlines the need to ensure that work equipment is properly maintained and fit for purpose.”

The HSE Press Release is here.

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