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Up on the roof

View profile for Kate Sweeney
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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have published several press releases which have caught my eye this month and involve falls from roofs.

The most tragic being the death of a labourer following a fall from the roof of an industrial unit, just months after another worker was injured in a fall at the same site. According to the HSE’s website, John McCleary fell 15 feet while fitting roof panels at a construction site in Toxteth. He lost his balance while on a narrow beam he was using as no scaffolding had been erected. [1] The 51-year-old father-of-two, from Toxteth, was paralysed from the waist down and tragically died of pneumonia just over seven months later as a result of his injuries.

Other reported cases involved a scaffolder who suffered multiple injuries when he fell seven metres through a fragile roof in Stoke-on-Trent; a worker who fell six and a half metres through a roof light onto a concrete floor and suffered fractures to his back as well as fractures and dislocation to his left shoulder; and a worker suffered serious head injuries and fractured his hand when he fell through a glasshouse roof.

The HSE website also confirms this month that a Lancashire roofer has been prosecuted after he and two employees were spotted on camera up on a shop roof without any protection to stop them falling. The roofer’s actions not only put his own employees’ lives at risk but also those of the public.

These cases highlight the real dangers of working on fragile roofs and the continual exposure of scaffolders to the risk of falling from height. Falls from height remain the biggest cause of injury and deaths within the construction industry. According to the HSE, last year, 38 workers were killed in Great Britain as a result of a fall and more than 4,000 suffered major injuries.

Stephensons Solicitors LLP has a success record of bringing a large number of cases for our clients against employers’ liability insurers for these type of accidents. If you are a labourer or scaffolder and you have been injured as a result of a fall from a height then speak to us about bringing a case against your employer.

By personal injury solicitor, Jennifer Holt