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Company fined after worker suffers fractured spine

A construction company in Northumberland has been sentenced and fined after an employee was injured while demolishing a farm building.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how on 20th September 2017, an employee of Northern Structures Ltd was removing roof sheets from a timber frame farm building, when he fell through one of the asbestos cement roof sheets, falling approximately 4 metres onto the ground below. He suffered a fractured spine as a result of the accident.

After the incident an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was launched and it was discovered that while a risk assessment and method statement were in place to remove the roof sheets from below, this method was changed to remove them from above. It was during this change in method that the employee fell through a roof sheet.

Northern Structures Ltd of Amble Industrial Estate, Amble, Northumberland pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 (1)(a) and Regulation 4 (1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £150,000 and ordered to pay costs of £791.70.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Loren Wilmot said:

“Suitable and sufficient measures should have been in place through the use of alternative access equipment.”

“This would have negated the need for the employee to be on the roof of the building, therefore eliminating the risk of a fall from height through the roof sheets.”