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Worker fractures back and ribs following fall

04 April 2023

A COMPANY has been fined after an employee fractured his back and ribs following a fall from a house in Frodsham, Cheshire.

The man was working for Renka Limited after the company had been hired to supply and install windows, doors and frames at the property on Village Road.

Renka Limited workers arrived at the property on 31 August 2021 to begin the installation of a rooflight, but the tower scaffold they had been provided with was too large and could not be positioned in the area where it was needed. As a result, the workers made a platform using the boards from the tower scaffold and wedged them between the roof joists. They then gained access to the work area via the external scaffolding.

Following the installation of the rooflight frame, one of the workers stepped from the roof onto the platform, at which point a board broke, causing him to fall approximately five metres to the ground below. As a result, the worker, who was 35 at the time, suffered fractures to his back and ribs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found Renka Limited failed to adequately plan the work at height and failed to provide suitable work equipment to enable the work to be carried out safely. The investigation also found that the company’s employees had not been provided with any instruction as to how the work should be carried out, and had not been provided with adequate training for working at height. HSE guidance on working at height can be found here: Work at height – HSE.

Renka Limited, of Birmingham Road, Marlbrook, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £3863 in costs at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on 20 February 2023.

HSE inspector Sara Andrews said, “The incident could have been prevented by the adequate planning of the work and the provision of suitable equipment for work at height, together with relevant training and instructions. It is fortunate that the injuries suffered by the employee were not far more serious, or even fatal.”