Company fined after employee’s roof fall

The Cleansafe employee fell through this roof while cleaning in Eastbourne SUS-150903-143804001

The Cleansafe employee fell through this roof while cleaning in Eastbourne SUS-150903-143804001

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A CLEANING company has been fined after ‘grossly inadequate’ safety precautions led to a worker plunging six metres and breaking multiple bones.

The 36-year-old Goring man was working for Croydon-based Cleansafe Services when he fell through an acrylic rooflight at a car rental business in Eastbourne.

The incident, in December, 2013, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted the firm for several breaches of the Work at Height Regulations.

HSE inspector Amanda Huff said: “Cleansafe Services is a commercial company operating throughout the country but had no experience of working on fragile roofs.

“The risk assessment was not fit for the purpose and the result was the limited safety measures it took to protect the workforce were grossly inadequate.

“It is unacceptable for firms to put their employees at needless risk. There are several people killed each year and many more badly injured falling through fragile roofs.”

The worker had inspected a light from ground level and had returned to the roof when he inadvertently stepped on one of the rooflights.

The acrylic gave way, sending him falling through to the concrete floor below.

The injured man and a colleague had reached the roof using a mobile elevating platform but had taken only six scaffold boards to stand on while jet-washing the rooflights.

He sustained a complex skull fracture and brain damage, multiple arm and wrist fractures and broke several ribs.

He has lost his sense of smell and taste, has impaired sight in one eye and is totally deaf in one ear.

He was in hospital for nearly two months, part of the time in an induced coma, and is unable to work.

The firm, of Progress Way Business Park, Croydon, was fined a total of £60,000 and ordered to pay £5,741 in costs after pleading guilty to three breaches of the Work at Height Regulations. The case was heard by Eastbourne magistrates on Friday.