Erith Haulage Company fined after driver's fall from roof

Ashleigh Wight
March 17, 2017

Kent-based Erith Haulage Company has received a £215,000 fine after a driver fell 4.5m while cleaning a roof.

Southwark Crown Court was told a 29-year-old HGV driver sustained numerous injuries after falling through a fragile skylight onto a concrete floor at the firm’s Anchor Bay Wharf, Erith premises in January 2015.

He and another driver were asked to clean the roof using a mobile elevated work platform. However, the driver was unable to reach a section of the roof and climbed off of the platform to clean it.

While walking along a section of the roof, he fell through a skylight that appeared to be the same colour of the roof due to the amount of dirt that was on it.

The driver was hospitalised for a month and sustained injuries that included a fracture to the base of his skull, multiple facial fractures, whiplash, leg injuries and damage to bones in both arms.

The HSE said neither driver had any knowledge of how to use the mobile elevated work platform and had not received training. No edge protection was in place around the roof to prevent falls from height; no harness or netting was used to minimise the distance of the fall; and the fragile roof lights were not covered to stop people from falling through them.

The HSE prosecuted the company for failing to ensure the work was properly planned, supervised and carried out in a safe manner.

The company, which has an O-licence authorising up to 80 trucks and 13 trailers, pleaded guilty to breaching The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £215,000 with £10,622 in costs on 6 March.

HSE inspector Megan Carr said: “This easily preventable incident resulted in life changing injuries to this man.

“I want this case to raise awareness within the industry and among companies in general, that proper planning and operation of work at height is imperative. This case highlights the serious consequences that may arise from oversight.”

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