Preston Magistrates’ Court heard how an employee of T & J Leigh, a partnership of Ghyll View Farm, had been helping the joinery contractor Harry Jackson to re-roof an old feed mill building, when the accident happened.
The worker fell five metres through a gap in the roof to the concrete floor below, causing him serious head and arm injuries.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which took place in November 2016, found the roof work was not properly planned. There were no measures in place to prevent or mitigate a fall through or from the roof.
T & J Leigh of Ghyll View Farm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974 and was fined a total of £50,000 with costs of £2,855.32.
Harry Jackson of Much Hoole pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc act 1974 and was given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work and pay costs of £2,855.32.
‘Could have been fatal’
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Steven Boyd said: “This avoidable incident resulted in serious injuries – a fall from this distance could easily have been fatal.
“Roof work should always be properly planned, with measures put in place to prevent a dangerous fall. Companies commissioning roof work should make reasonable checks regarding the competence of a contractor to undertake work at height safely.”
Meanwhile, in September, convenience food manufacturer Greencore was fined £1m for safety failings, after a contractor died following a fall from a stepladder.