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Plumbing, Heating and Electrics firm fined after worker’s life-changing fall

Peter Bettison, an employee of Duncan Plumbing, Heating and Electrics Ltd, sustained serious injuries when he fell almost seven metres through an unsafe rooflight.

What happened?

Mr Bettison, and a colleague, were installing solar panel racks on a farm building roof. Several were successfully secured, but after putting a further rack in place the 54-year-old unwittingly stood on one of the rooflights.

It gave way and sent him crashing nearly seven metres to the concrete floor below. He suffered extensive injuries, including a fractured skull, a punctured lung, a broken collar bone, and a broken left pelvis. He was kept sedated for the majority of his 22 days in hospital.

An investigation into the incident found that the firm has carried out two site surverys prior to the work and, despite having identified the presence of roof lights, had failed to ensure measures were in place to protect the workers from falls.

What was the outcome?

Duncan Plumbing, plead guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £3,408.

HSE Inspector Sarah Lee said:

“Mr Bettison suffered devastating injuries in this fall and could so easily
have been killed. His fall may have been broken by hitting the
hay bales and, if so they probably saved his life.

“The overall system of work employed by Duncan Heating, Plumbing and Electrics
Ltd was inherently unsafe. They did not recognise or properly identify
the dangers faced by their employees so safety
measures were totally neglected.

“It is astonishing that the company, having got the information about rooflights
at their fingertips, subsequently failed to do anything about it.
Had they been protected from above or netted from below,
this incident could have been avoided.

“Falling from height is still the biggest killer in the construction industry
and also leads to many injuries. The risks are also well-known
in the trade so there is no excuse for putting
workers at unnecessary risk.”

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

Source: View article

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