Factory boss fined after worker falls through roof.

A director of a manufacturing company has been fined for health and safety breaches after an employee fell through a roof at a site in Cradley Heath.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Adam Stephen Walker, director of Steven Walker and Sons Ltd, after Neil Tomkins suffered extensive bruising to his lower back after falling through a skylight onto a machine below.

Mr Walker [47], of New Wood Lane, Blakedown, Worcester, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

West Bromwich Magistrates heard that in May last year Mr Walker and another employee began repair work on a section of the factory roof. No risk assessment had been made, and no specialist equipment was used to prevent anyone falling through the roof apart from a small plank of wood for the employee to kneel on when making the repairs.

During the lunch break, Mr Tomkins climbed on to the roof to look at the repair work and fell through a skylight.

After Mr Tomkins had been taken to hospital, Mr Walker then took another employee on to the roof to replace the damaged skylight.

Again, despite the fragility of the roof and the incident that had just happened, no assessment was made nor specialist equipment used. This second employee however took a scaffold board with him on his own initiative.

HSE Inspector, Amarjit Kalay, said:

“The failure of the company and Mr Walker to make adequate provisions for working on the roof left one of its employees with serious injuries, and could easily have cost him his life. This incident could easily have been prevented by undertaking a suitable risk assessment and by using the necessary equipment to prevent a fall through the fragile roof”.

“Falls from height cause more workplace deaths than anything else. HSE’s current ‘Shattered Lives’ campaign promotes awareness of the serious consequences of slips, trips and falls. Working at height can be very dangerous if the right measures are not taken to protect workers.”