Dairy manufacturer fined £400,000 after worker’s roof fall

A TRAFFORD Park-based dairy manufacturer has been fined £400,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries when he fell 15 feet through a fragile roof panel.

The company was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court, after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The court heard that on July 8 2015, a worker was carrying out a routine job with two colleagues to change the refrigeration gas of the chilled storage units at the firm’s premises on Lake Road, Trafford Park.

They were working in the roof void of the chilled store building above the chilled units. One of the workers stood on a fragile fire board panel at the edge of the roof space and fell down the void between the chilled unit and the building shell. He suffered injuries to his head and body.

HSE’s investigation found that the workers had not been given any information from the company about the fragile roof panels in the void, despite having worked there on a number of previous occasions.

HSE inspector Jane Carroll said after the hearing, which took place on December 22: “This case highlights how important it is that a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is undertaken for all work at height and work within roof voids, to identify the potential for fragile panels to be present.

“Falls from height through fragile roofs remain a common cause of life changing or fatal injuries for individuals at work”.

It is essential that as a company you carry out an adequate risk assessment prior to permitting access to any work areas and to ensure that you share information about your findings to contractors prior to work being undertaken.

Warning signs and markings are to be clearly displayed and barriers erected to prevent unauthorised access to areas of danger.

Also to help comply with due diligence, it is recommended that a pre-qualification questionnaire be completed by the contractor. This will enable you to check that they have the received the appropriate training and hold the correct qualifications for the task before allowing them to undertake any work. In doing so this will help to prevent any accidents to operatives or damage to property and equipment.

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