Farmer prosecuted after worker falls through roof

A farmer has been fined £8000 for breaching health and safety regulations after an employee fell 5m though a roof.

Charles Leslie fell while carrying our repairs to the roof on 13 May 2008 fracturing his spine, pelvis and hip. He also sustained a gash to his head.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today (18 August) successfully prosecuted Francis Caley, of Manor Farm, Sproatley Road, Hull, for breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, over the incident.

Mr Caley pleaded guilty to the charge and in addition to the fine was ordered to pay £1858 costs at Hull and Holderness Magistrates Court.

The court found that Mr Caley failed to take suitable precautions to prevent a fall through the roof, which was not strong enough to support the weight of a person.

After the hearing HSE Inspector Alan Sheldon told the Yorkshire Post that the hazards and risks of working on roofs were well documented.

“HSE has produced a lot of guidance over many years specifically for the agriculture industry where about 70 fatalities have occurred from falls in the past 10 years. More than half of these resulted from falls through fragile surfaces.

“In this case a farm employee fell over 4.5m to the ground as he stepped from a ladder on to the roof of a farm building. He suffered serious injuries. The measures in place at the time were not adequate to prevent this happening.”