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Engineering company in court after employee’s near-death fall

22-year-old Daniel Telford sustained life-changing injuries after he fell seven metres through an unsafe roof at a farm in Harrogate.

What happened?

The father of two had been hired by Spruce and Hawe Ltd, and was replacing the farm’s rooflights when the fragile roof-sheet he was standing on gave way. He fell through and landed heavily on the concrete floor below.

He suffered multiple injuries including a broken neck and shoulder blades, shattered vertebrae, a collapsed lung, a fractured pelvis, a broken right hip, and serious nerve damage.

He remained in hospital for four weeks, and needed to use a wheelchair for three months after being discharged. He remains unable to return to work.

An investigation into the incident found that both Spruce and Hawe Ltd, and its director, had failed to provide any precautions to protect workers from falls.

The firm was served a prohibition notice to put an immediate stop to any further work at height, until satisfactory measures were put in place to mitigate the dangers and protect from falls.

What was the outcome?

Spruce and Hawe Ltd admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £12,000. Additionally Michael Spruce, director of the firm, was fined £3,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the same Act.

The company was also required to pay £513 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Julian Franklin said:

“This young man could have been killed by a simple failure to follow well-known
systems of work when on a fragile roof. As it is, he sustained severe
and multiple injuries that have changed his life.

“A year on, he is struggling to come to terms with the physical and
psychological after-effects of this horrendous accident.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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