A company director sentenced after a fall from a height of an apprentice

The director of an air conditioning company has been given a 6-month suspended prison sentence, following an incident in 2019 which resulted in the serious injury of an apprentice.

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that in October 2019 an apprentice was instructed to replace an external air conditioner on the roof of a warehouse, despite not having worked on a roof before. The apprentice gained access to the roof via a man cage, but then fell through a skylight, falling five meters to the ground, breaking his back and leaving him unable to return to work since.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that although the company director visited the site a month before carrying out a risk assessment, identifying the skylights as a fall hazard, he hadn’t implemented any checks before sending the inexperienced apprentice onto the roof.

The manager pleaded guilty to breaching section 37(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1974. In addition to his suspended six-month sentence, he will have to perform 150 hours of unpaid work and pay £4,886 in costs and a victim surcharge.

Speaking about the case, Dave Jones, construction health and safety advisor at SIMIAN, said:

“Roofing work is always a high-risk activity, and the hazards associated with it are usually fairly obvious to those with experience in the industry. Additionally, simple assessment and planning of the activity can prevent incidents like this.

While the risks may be obvious to experienced workers, this will generally not be the case for those with less experience, and therefore inexperience or lack of awareness must be considered as part of the process. planning, with appropriate levels of supervision applied. , as well as any other protective measure deemed necessary in the circumstances.

Site risk assessment is essential, but implementing the changes needed to correct the issues identified during this assessment is crucial. For assistance in ensuring this is done efficiently, contact the SIMIAN team today.