G & A Leask Limited pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at court on 19 April 2023. The company was fined £9,000.
The prosecutor told the court that in October 2018 Thomas Marshall, then aged 22 years, and a co-worker were sent to repair roof tiles on a property in Seafield, Lerwick. Thomas’ co-worker went to collect more tiles while he continued to replace damaged slates, and approximately 10 minutes later a passer-by heard a shout and saw Thomas falling sideways off the unprotected edge of the roof. The sloped roof of the house was just over four metres high. The ground below was a narrow passageway between the gable end and the perimeter wall.
Thomas Marshall suffered a severe traumatic brain injury along with vertebrae fractures and a broken collar bone because of the fall. He continues to suffer ongoing effects due to the head injury. He recently settled a civil action in relation to the incident.
The HSE investigation found the company had well-trained and well-equipped employees but in this instance the company had failed in their duty to clarify with their employees that using scaffolding was a direction rather than a suggestion.
HSE stated that work on sloping roofs is not low risk work and the risk of falling from an unprotected roof edge is such that a scaffold or other roof edge protection would be a reasonably practicable precaution in the circumstances.
Since this incident the company has stated that work is now more closely supervised, and it has altered ‘Job Sheets’ to include specific risks and instructions which employees must acknowledge as being understood.
The purpose of The Work at Height Regulations 2005 is to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height. Ensure you are compliant, and work is planned, supervised and carried out by competent people to protect yourself and your employees.
For more information, or to book a Working at Height course: