Get in touch

Beverley, East Yorkshire HU17 7QH

Phone: 01482 881 203

4 11, 2017

Failure to cover a fragile surface

2017-11-04T16:11:13+00:00 November 4th, 2017|Falls through Fragile Surfaces|Comments Off on Failure to cover a fragile surface

Principal Contractor failed to ensure covers or effective scaffolding installed

A construction company has been fined after a worker suffered serious injuries after falling from height through a fragile rooflight in October 2015.

Cheltenham Magistrates heard how a sub-contractor, working for King Builders (Gloucester) Ltd, suffered fractured vertebrae, chest and head injuries after falling through the fragile rooflight.

The HSE investigation found that the company, who was the appointed CDM 2015 Principal Contractor, failed to ensure the safety of those working on the roof.

The investigation also found that there were a number of places on the site at Pitt Street, Gloucester where someone could have fallen.


Not the exact photograph, this is a stock item to demonstrate a fall.

PC held accountable for safety of sub-contractor

King Builders (Gloucester) Ltd were convicted of breaching Regulation 4 (1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and have been fined £30,000 and ordered to pay costs of £18,281.70.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Simon Chilcott said:

“Those in control of work have a responsibility to ensure safe methods of working are used and to maintain control of those working for them.

If simple precautions, such as a robust cover or scaffolding, had been in place prior to the incident, the serious injuries sustained by the sub-contractor could have been prevented.”

There are numerous means available to cover / protect against falls through Fragile Surfaces, why is this sttill happening??

If you need assistance in finding the solutions, please feel free to contact me via

6 10, 2017

Frosty Reception for Iceland

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 October 6th, 2017|Falls through Fragile Surfaces|Comments Off on Frosty Reception for Iceland

Retailer Iceland Foods has this week been fined £2.5m following the death of a contractor working at height at a store in Rotherham in October 2013.

The food giant’s fine, the largest to date in 2017, was handed down in a sentencing hearing at Grimsby Crown Court, following a three-week trial held at Sheffield Crown Court in July 2017.

In the trial, Iceland was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The charges were brought by Rotherham Council following the fatal accident at the Iceland store on Sycamore Road, Rotherham, on 28 October 2013.

Contractor Tony Hopkins was at the store to replace filters within an air conditioning unit, which was located on a “plant platform” above a suspended ceiling in the store’s warehouse.


Hopkins fell almost 3m from the platform and through the suspended ceiling, sustaining fatal injuries.

An investigation by Adrian Monkhouse, principal environmental health officer at the council, revealed that there were no barriers in place to prevent falls from the platform.

In addition, the area of the platform immediately in front of the access ladder was restricted, measuring just 45cm in width, and there were several tripping hazards in this area, including cabling and the fixing points for the ladder itself.

In order to avoid these problems get in touch and book your Safe Work at Height course now.

27 06, 2017

Fall through Fragile Surfaces

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 June 27th, 2017|Falls through Fragile Surfaces|Comments Off on Fall through Fragile Surfaces

Yet another company fined after worker fell through fragile skylight fortunately this fall was not fatal which has been the result so often in the past.

7 June 2017

A Stranraer based groundwork company has today been fined after a worker fell more than seven metres through a fragile roof.

Stranraer Sheriff Court today heard the 42-year-old had been sub-contracted by McKeown Groundworks Limited, to carry out roof repairs on a barn at Whiteley’s Farm, Stranraer.

On 24 May 2016 the worker arrived at the farm to work on the roof. As he walked along the roof he stepped on a translucent light panel which broke under his weight resulting in his falling through the roof to the ground below.

Mock up, not actual photo

The worker suffered a compression fracture of the lower back as a result of this incident.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that McKeown Groundworks Limited failed to adequately supervise this work at height and relied on the experience of the workers to avoid injury while working at height.

It was also found that McKeown failed to plan the work at height and therefore no control measures had been put in place to prevent workers falling from or through the roof.

McKeown Groundworks Limited whose registered office is at King Street, Castle Douglas has today been fined £12000 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2015.

This accident, consequences and costs to the company could have been totally avoided, if you require any assistance or guidance on how to plan and execute job specific RAMS (Risk Assessments Method Statements), then make contact via the Contact Us button or email direct

13 05, 2017

Solar Panel installer falls from Height

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 May 13th, 2017|Falls through Fragile Surfaces|Comments Off on Solar Panel installer falls from Height

I travel several thousands of miles year in year out, I have lost count as to how many times I have reported to the HSE, on their complaints line (03000031647) the kind of work place activity that could quite easily end up like the story below.

It is only fair however, that I must also say that there are many Solar Panel installation companies who do do an excellent and safe job.

Solar panel firm failed to control risk and supervise works

A Bristol based solar panel installation company has been fined after a 49-year-old worker fell more than 3.5 metres through a void in a roof at a Bristol school.

The fall inflicted serious injuries on the man, including bleeding on the brain, a fractured spleen and fractured ribs.

Bristol Magistrates Court heard how the worker was one of several contracted by Solarjen Limited (known as Paul O’Brien Solar Installations (SW) Limited at the time) to undertake roof works

HSE found the company failed to ensure physical guarding was in place to prevent the worker and his colleagues from falling through voids in the roof. The inquiry also found the company failed to appropriately supervise the work.

Supervision found lacking

Solarjen Limited of Bedminster, Bristol, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and has been fined £250,000 ordered to pay costs of £12,073.14.

Speaking after the hearing HSE inspector Mehtaab Hamid said:

“The company failed to properly organise the work and make sure the workers knew what safety measures were needed, as well providing appropriate supervision to ensure work was not undertaken without the measures being put in place.

As a result, serious harm was caused to one worker and others were put at serious risk.”

If you would like to get further information on how to install solar panels without risk, or would like assistance in planning and qwriting RAMS for any type of work at height, the contact me

8 03, 2017

Falls through Fragile Materials

2017-10-12T09:22:28+00:00 March 8th, 2017|Falls through Fragile Surfaces|Comments Off on Falls through Fragile Materials


Another prosecution for a fall through Fragile Materials, it is difficult to imagine what these people were thinking about when they permitted this work activity to proceed.

In this day and age when the legislation that includes the Work at Height Regulations, that these falls are still occurring.

Apart from the first action point in the hierarchy of working at height is to AVOID, the work at height where possible, the second action point is to prevent the fall through fragile surfaces.

There are many systems / products available of preventing falls through fragile surfaces in the market place, for example;


Roof light covers

The above equipment protects the person from stepping on or falling through the fragile surface.

There are other methods of protecting the fragile surface, which are widely used within the roofing fraternity, one for example is called Leap Frogging,

Leap Frogging involves using robust timber plates, or other material and moving the plates around the roof to cover the fragile surface in the vicinity of the work being undertaken, it sounds simple but it does require a strict training regime and discipline by the roofers to follow the method of work.

If the whole roof is deemed to be a fragile surface there are other system and equipment, which can be adopted, for example;


Sliding platforms.

There are other systems available, which use sacrificial safety netting.

On occasions one may wish to use safety netting flown under the fragile surface,

but you must keep in mind that the first requirement is to prevent the fall, not arrest the fall, as safety nets do.


It is also quite possible that due to the congestion of equipment and, for example racking within the building that it is not always possible to fly safety nets.

You wouldn’t like to be impaled on these racks, would you.


So when you consider all of the above and other systems and procedures that are readily available, how can the cases shown below, still be happening?

Please read on……..

Three construction companies fined after worker fall


24 January 2017

Three companies from Essex have been fined after a worker fell over seven meters through a fragile roof he was replacing.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Rafal Myslim was standing on the fragile roof at Dengie Crops Ltd in Asheldem, when the asbestos sheeting gave way and he fell 7.5m onto a concrete floor, hitting a number of pipes within the building on the way down. There was no safety netting or other protective equipment to prevent him from falling and he suffered a hematoma on the brain.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found three companies at fault for the fall. Dengie Crops Ltd contracted Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd, who are an agricultural machinery supplier, to help the company replace their roof . Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd did not have the appropriate experience and subcontracted the work to Balsham (Buildings) Ltd who worked out how the roof replacement should take place. Balsham then subcontracted the actual replacement of the roof to Strong Clad Ltd.

Ernest Doe & Sons Ltd were unable to act effectively in their role as principal contractor because they had no experience of working in construction. They could not effectively oversee Balsham (Buildings) Ltd plans that had highlighted the risk of a fall. None of the parties involved put in place safety measures for 40% of the roof that did not have netting below. They relied too heavily on the verbal briefings to workers reminding them of where the netting was rather than putting in place effective safety measures for the whole roof.

Ernest Doe & sons Ltd, of Ulting, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 22 of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They were fined £360,000 and ordered to pay costs of £10,000

Balsham (Buildings) Ltd, of Balsham, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £45,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,000

Strong Clad Ltd, of Castle Hedingham, Essex, pleaded guilty to breaching 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005. They were fined £7,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000

HSE inspector Adam Hills said: “The dangers of working on fragile roofs are well documented. Every year too many people are killed or seriously injured due to falls from height while carrying out this work.

“Work at height requires adequate planning, organisation and communication between all parties. This incident was entirely preventable and Mr Myslim is lucky to be alive.”