A father and daughter who own and run a farm in Hertfordshire have been fined by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) after an employee fell through a fragile barn roof and suffered multiple fractures.
On 6 August 2010, Stefan Wasilewski, 39, was cleaning the roof of a barn at Ugley Hall Farm, Ugley, Bishop’s Stortford. Mr Wasilewski and a colleague stood on scaffold boards placed over the roof and brushed the area with brooms, as instructed by their employers, James and Elizabeth Reay. The asbestos cement roof cracked and Mr Wasilewski fell five metres onto the concrete floor below. He suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and ribs and was unable to walk for several months.
After the hearing at Harlow Magistrates’ Court today, HSE Inspector Kim Wicks said:
“Working at height without any safety precautions in place will always put employees at risk. In this case there was an added risk as the surface the men were working on was fragile. Standards for working on fragile roofs are well-established and extensive guidance is available on HSE’s website.
“This incident could easily have been avoided if these had been followed. Falls from height are among the biggest causes of workplace deaths in the UK and the outcome of this incident could have been even more serious.”
Last year, more than 4,000 workers suffered major injuries as the result of falls from height and 12 lost their lives.
Both Elizabeth and James Reay, trading as H R Reay, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Elizabeth Reay was fined £4,000 and James Reay was fined £4,000. They were ordered to pay £2,083.30 in costs to be shared between them.