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Glasgow Company Sentenced After Employee’s Fall

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A firm of contractors in Glasgow was fined at Glasgow Sheriff Court earlier this week (4 June 2014) in relation to Health and Safety failings that caused an employee to fall five metres through a roof light.

David Jack, aged 53 at the time of the accident, was sub-contracted to work in his capacity as a painter and decorator when he fell through a fibreglass roof light. He suffered a cut leg requiring stitches, a blunt force abdominal injury and his wrist was sprained. These injuries resulted in an overnight stay in hospital and caused him to be absent from work for two weeks.

An investigation into the incident by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) disclosed a number of failings. Not only had the firm John Watson & Co not sought advice about working safely at height from the company’s health and safety consultants, they also failed to carry out a suitable risk assessment to identify the safety measures needed to control the risk of falls.

The company, based at Kyle Street in Glasgow, pled guilty to breaching sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £20,000. Following the case, HSE Principal Inspector Graeme McMinn, said:

“The workers were exposed to unacceptable risks of falling from the roof or through the roof lights for several days. This incident could very easily have had much more severe consequences.”

Figures from the HSE show that approximately seven people are killed every year – nearly a fifth of all deaths in the construction industry caused by falls - after falling through a fragile roof.
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