Cruden fined over roof fall

The Health & Safety Executive prosecuted Cruden Construction, which pleaded guilty to breaching safety regulations, after two workers fell from a school roof in Didsbury.

Trafford Magistrates' Court heard that the two men had been working approximately three metres above the ground as part of a major refurbishment project at Barlow Moor High School at the school on Parrs Wood Road in Didsbury.

Both men were fortunate to escape with only minor injuries when they fell from the school roof. The men had been investigating a leak in the flat roof at Barlow Moor High School when one of the men leant on a wooden handrail that collapsed. The other worker tried to grab hold of him, but they both ended up falling to a scaffolding platform with protruding metal poles 1.5 metres below.

Warrington-based Cruden Construction, principal contractor on the site, was prosecuted by the HSE following the incident on 6 September 2011.

One of the workers, aged 59, from Hightown, Merseyside, twisted his right knee and suffered bruising to his ribs and left arm when he fell onto the scaffolding platform.

His colleague who tried to save him, aged 42 from Middleton, Greater Manchester, suffered a fractured rib, and bruising to his arm and chest.

The court was told both workers were lucky not to have been impaled on metal poles sticking up through the scaffolding when they fell.

Cruden Construction pleaded guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to ensure the hand rail was a sufficient strength and rigidity for the work.

The company, of Knutsford Road in Grappenhall, was fined £6,500 and ordered to pay £2,530 towards the cost of the prosecution.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Laura Moran said: "Both men were lucky to escape with relatively minor injuries after they fell from the roof at Barlow Moor High School.

"They could easily have been seriously injured or even killed had they been impaled by a scaffolding pole, or fallen all the way to the ground below.

"The wooden handrail that Cruden Construction provided simply wasn't up to the job and their safety was compromised as a result."

The latest figures show that 38 people died as a result of a workplace fall in Great Britain in 2010/11, and more than 4,000 suffered a major injury.

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