Brain Injury Fall Caused by Too Little Scaffolding

The scaffolding did not extend fully across the work area.

The principal contractor involved in the construction of a dormer extension was sentenced for safety breaches on 19 April, 2018 after a self-employed worker suffered life threatening injuries.

Leeds Crown Court heard how, on 29 October 2015, the operative was working on the roof at the side of a dormer when he fell approximately eight metres on to a paved floor. Bad weather meant the dormer extension needed to be made watertight, which involved working on the unprotected area of the roof.

His fall was broken by a plastic children’s playhouse. The worker suffered a traumatic brain injury, bruising, and damage to his left arm.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found the scaffolding erected on the site did not extend fully across the intended area of works and did not provide a protective area along the edge under which the operative was working. James Riley, the principal contractor, failed to ensure suitable and sufficient measures were in place to prevent persons falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

James D Riley trading as JD Riley of Fox and Hounds House, Tockwith Road, Long Marston, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and has received an 8-month sentence suspended for 2 years along with a compensation order for £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson commented: “Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.

“In this case, by putting in place measures to prevent falls from the roof edge by providing a scaffold platform under the area of works, could have removed the danger of falling.”

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