Roofing company fined after worker falls through skylight

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A Manchester-based roofing company has been fined £20,000 after an employee fell through a skylight while carrying out repairs and broke several bones.

The 24-year-old employee of Hightech Roofing N/W Limited was repairing a roof on a building in Blackburn, Lancashire on 3 August 2022 when they fell 4.8 metres through a roof light, resulting in breaks to their foot and ankle as well as a fractured vertebra.

An investigation by HSE found that boards for workers to move around on did not cover the roof lights. Photograph: HSE 

The company had failed to ensure the work was properly planned and appropriately supervised, said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following its investigation of the incident. Workers used boards to move around the roof, but the boards did not cover the roof lights, the investigation found.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices,” said HSE inspector Sam Eves.

Hightech Roofing, of Grimshaw Street, Manchester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay nearly £6,000 in costs at Preston Magistrates’ Court on 9 May.

HSE guidance states that people carrying out roof work must be trained, competent and instructed in use of the precautions required.

Working at height is the leading cause of workplace deaths in the UK. Between 2022 and 2023, 40 workers lost their lives after falling from height at work, as British Safety Council’s head of audit and consultancy, Phil Pinnington, explains in this recent blog post.

No Falls Week (13-17 May), led by the No Falls Foundation, aims to promote safe working at height practices and reduce the number of deaths and injuries in this sector.