Firm fined after employee falls through roof

A vending machine supplier in Skelmersdale was fined £10,500 after a worker fell through a fragile roof whilst clearing out gutters.

The 40-year-old employee from Runcorn, who asked not to be named, was clearing out the gutters at Paragon International Ltd, on Paddock Road, on 4 September last year when he fell approximately six metres through a roof light.

Paragon International, which trades as Eurocup and supplies snacks and drinks for vending machines across the UK, was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive after an investigation found it had failed to ensure he could work safely on the roof.

Ormskirk Magistrates' Court heard the employee was sent onto the roof to clean the guttering between two connected buildings. He was told he should try to stay away from the roof lights, but no practical steps were taken by the company to avoid this.

The employee and another worker had to carry bags of debris to the top of the roof, walking on the metal sheets between the roof lights, so that it could be collected by a forklift truck.
One of the men accidentally stepped onto a roof light and fell into the accounts office below. He suffered bruising to his right side and leg, and injuries to his right hand and back.

The court was told the company should have found alternative ways of doing the work safely, such as hiring a cherry-picker or providing edging around the roof lights.

Paragon International Ltd, of Paddock Road in West Pimbo, pleaded guilty to single breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The company was fined a total of £10,500 and ordered to pay £3,067 in prosecution costs.

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