Nature’s Power Ltd has been prosecuted after a trainee employee suffered multiple fractures in an 8m roof fall. The 22 year-old fractured his vertebrae, ankle, wrist and pelvis in the incident in Highbury, North London, on 3 December 2012.
Westminster Magistrates’ heard the firm had been fitting a flue liner as part of installation work for a wood burning stove.
The trainee was attempting to slide together an extendable roof ladder while balanced at the top of the access ladder against the house. HSE investigators found the access ladder was too short to clear the guttering and did not extend to a point where he could step off safely.
When the roof ladder began to slip from his hands he fell from the access ladder. There was nothing for him to hold on to help him regain his balance and he fell three storeys to the ground below.
Nature’s Power Ltd, of High Street, Rickmandsworth, was fined a total of £30,000 and ordered to pay a further £5,840 in costs after being found guilty in absentia of two separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
After the hearing, HSE Inspector Keith Levart said:
“It was clear the access ladder had been used unsafely and that Nature’s Power Ltd had failed to plan the work properly, taking into account the specific issues that arose from using that site.
If used correctly, access and roof ladders can provide safe access to chimneys. However, this one could not clear the guttering, which led to this entirely preventable incident and a trainee worker suffering serious injuries. It is only a matter of good fortune that these injuries were not fatal.
There is no shortage of advice and information about safe use of ladders. Where necessary, there is ancillary equipment available such as adjustable ladder stays, and straps for securing it to the building.”
Lighthouse Comments: Quite often we are quizzed over the specific use and application of Ladders. Many of which is due to the unnecessary banning of ladders enforcing different means of access is needed. It is not hard to see why ladders are often banned, many companies cannot be trusted to utilise them properly. Ladders are never the issue, however the use of them is. Do not get it wrong and get some sound Health and Safety Advice