22 Apr 2010

Aberdeenshire man fined after employee fell from roof

A sole trader who erects farms buildings has been fined £15,000 after his employee broke both his legs when he fell three metres from the roof of an Aberdeenshire farm building.

Mr Robert Peter Mackie, 36, from the Turriff area, who was trading as RDM Engineering at the time of the incident was prosecuted after the incident. He pleaded guilty to of breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Banff Sherriff Court heard how, on 20 November 2008 an employee was fixing a roof sheet onto the roof of a new potato store at Little Hilton Farm, near Turriff, Aberdeenshire, when he slipped and fell from the edge of the roof. He landed on an adjacent roof below, breaking his leg in two places.

There were no safety measures in place, such as guard-rails to prevent falls from this section of the roof and the work at height had not been properly planned and controlled by Mr Mackie.

Following the case, HSE Inspector Liz Standen said:

"All employers carrying out work at height must ensure that the risks are fully assessed, the job is thoroughly planned and that suitable equipment is used. There is no excuse for leaving roofs under construction unguarded against falls.

"I find it very frustrating that people continue to be needlessly injured and killed because of a lack of basic planning and simple precautions.

"HSE statistics show that during 2008/09 10 people died and 1,423 were injured in Scotland while working in construction. These incidents are nearly always preventable when using the right equipment for the job."

HSE Transcript Source: SCO/137/10
(Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence)


Incidents such as this only go as far as to highlight the importance of understanding the planning and subsequent choice of equipment when working at height. By choosing the correct equipment to provide the safest, most appropriate solution the chances of an incident occuring such as that above would be significantly reduced. Once the correct equipment has been chosen then the need to ensure its safety with a pre-use inspection and user training then becomes a priority and that is where Good to Go Safety can help. The use of scaffolding, a MEWP, a scaffold tower and/or fall arrest harness may have prevented this accident from occuring - Good to Go Safety now offers tagging and inspection systems for all such equipment. Click here for more information.

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