Suspended sentence in brain injury case

The principal contractor involved in the construction of a dormer extension has been sentenced for safety breaches after a self-employed worker suffered life threatening injuries.

On 29 October 2015, the operative was working on the roof at the side of the dormer when he fell approximately eight metres on to a paved floor. Adverse weather meant there was a need to make the dormer extension water tight, which involved working in the unprotected area of the roof. His fall was broken by a plastic children’s playhouse. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, bruising, and damage to his left arm.

The HSE found the scaffolding erected on the site did not extend fully across the intended area of works and did not provide a protective area along the edge under where the operative was working. Mr Riley, the principal contractor, failed to ensure suitable and sufficient measures were in place to prevent persons falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

James D Riley trading as JD Riley of Fox and Hounds House, Tockwith Road, Long Marston, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and received an eight-month sentence suspended for two years along with a compensation order for £5,000. He was also ordered to pay £2,000 in costs

After the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Thompson commented: “Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.

“In this case, by putting in place measures to prevent falls from the roof edge by providing a scaffold platform under the area of works, could have removed the danger of falling.”