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Builder fined after contractor sustains serious injuries in a roof collapse

A self-employed builder has been fined after a contractor working for him suffered serious injuries when a single-story roof he was demolishing by hand, collapsed at a construction site in Cobham, Surrey.

Brighton Magistrates’ Court heard that, on the 15 April 2019, the contractor was standing on the roof of a partially demolished single-story extension of a domestic building undergoing refurbishment. Whilst he was on the roof, it collapsed and the worker suffered significant injuries to his right leg including a fractured tibia and fibular. Due to the damage sustained, his leg was later amputated above the knee.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found there was no safe system of work in place, as the demolition work had not been adequately planned. The stability of the structure during the demolition work had not been assessed, and there were no measures in place to prevent falls from the roof.

Patrick Sheehan of Walton Street, Walton-on-the-hill, Surrey, trading as Mastercraft Building Services, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974. He was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,383.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Leah Sullivan said: “The contractor’s injuries were life-changing and he could have easily been killed. This serious incident and the devastating effects on his life, could have been avoided if basic safe systems of work been put in place.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

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