Skylight Fall to Cost UK Firm $20,000 More

A remodeling firm was fined and ordered to pay court costs in connection with the February 2011 injury of a worker who fell about 20 feet and was seriously injured.

The Health and Safety Executive announced a London remodeling company, Sherlock Interiors Contracting Ltd, has been fined £8,000 (about $12,100) and ordered to pay £5347 (about $8,100) in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 in connection with the February 2011 injury of an employee.

The man, age 46, was doing insulation work at a flat-roof construction site in Kensington on Feb. 3, 2011, when he fell through a skylight to the ground about 20 feet below, breaking three vertebrae, his right shoulder blade, and several ribs. HSE investigated and found boards that had covered the skylights had been removed and replaced with thin plastic sheeting, and a safety deck beneath the roof that was designed to protect workers in the event of a fall was not in place when the man started his work.

"Work at height is inherently fraught with risk, and falls remain the single biggest cause of deaths and serious injury in the construction industry," HSE inspector Peter Collingwood said. "It is therefore essential that effective management arrangements are in place to ensure risks are managed and workers are protected. Fragile roof covers provide little or no protection and should be viewed with the same level of danger as an open void."

The agency reports 40 workers died in falls from height during 2011-12 and more than 3,400 others were seriously injured during that year. For more information, visit www.hse.gov.uk/falls or www.stopconstructionfalls.com.

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