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Roofing firm fined after employee falls through church roof

58-year-old, Allen Smith, sustained extensive injuries after he fell through a hole in a church roof in South East London.

What happened?

The father of three was replacing the roof of Anerley Methodist Church, when he plunged five metres through the hole and suffered a collapsed lung, smashed pelvis and head injuries.

He has been standing on a lightweight staging board while grinding off bolts and sliding asbestos cement sheets down employees manning the forklift truck below.

The other workers noticed the incident after hearing a loud bang and seeing Mr Smith lying on the floor below, along with the staging board.

Mr Smith was hospitalised for two months and, as well as having an operation on his lungs, he will also require a hip replacement and will probably suffer long-term arthritis. It is unlikely that he’ll ever work again.

What was the outcome?

An investigation by the HSE found that Nationwide Roofing and Cladding Ltd hadn’t installed satisfactory safeguards to protect its workers from falling, nor had they mitigated the impact of a fall should one happen.

The Hampshire-based firm admitted a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and was fined £8,600 and ordered to pay £11,280 in costs.

HSE Inspector, Wendy Garnet, said:

“Mr Smith suffered life-threatening injuries in this fall and will have to live with
the disabling consequences. However, his fall could have been avoided
had Nationwide Roofing followed standard industry practice.“Work at height is a major cause of workplace deaths and serious injury. The firm
should have been fully aware of its duties and responsibilities to the labourers
before starting the roof replacement works. But Nationwide neglected
to put in place sufficient protective measures
to guard against falls.

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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