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Construction worker suffers fracture to his back after a fall from height

Dufell Roofing Company Ltd, a Darlington based roofing company was sentenced today after an employee suffered a fracture to his back requiring surgery.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the injured person, Mr Stephen Merryweather, an employee of Dufell Roofing Company Ltd, was in the process of fitting new plywood boards over the top of existing wood wool slabs on a roof at a site in Morpeth on 15 April 2015. Two employees were in the process of positioning the second plywood board when the injured person fell four metres through one of the wood wool slabs onto the floor of the plant room, colliding with internal pipework.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuting told the court the firm should have identified that the roofs were potentially fragile and should have planned the work around this fact, with measures in place to prevent a fall through a fragile surface.

Dufell Roofing Company Limited of Alexander House, Faverdale Industrial Estate, Darlington pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and was fined £25,000 with £24,572.84 costs, plus a victim surcharge of £120.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Andrea Robbins said: “This injury was easily prevented and the risk should have been identified”

Article source: www.hse.gov.uk


Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries in the UK. Common incidents include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces.

‘Working at height’ is defined as work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance that could cause personal injury. Our training gives trainees the skills to take precautions to prevent falls, and to avoid additional risk.

The working at height regulations place the duty of preventing personal injury with the employer or those who control any work at height activity (such as facilities managers or building owners who contract others to work at height). As part of the regulations, you must ensure:

  • All work at height is properly planned and organised
  • Those involved in work at height are competent
  • The risks are assessed, and appropriate work equipment is used
  • The risks of working on or near fragile surfaces are properly managed
  • The equipment used for work at height is properly inspected and maintained

Alpha Training Safety Solutions run regular Working at Height and Safety Harness Inspection Training Courses from their Training Academy in West Sussex, or for groups of four or more anywhere in the UK.

We design courses to match your specific requirements to make sure training meets your exact needs. Our training team will check that your bespoke course meets all current legislative requirements and that you have the necessary tools and skilled personnel to work safely and efficiently at all times.

For further information, visit our website - www.alphahealthandsafety.com or call 01903 871381. 

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