Specialist fined after roof fall leaves worker in intensive care

An industrial and agricultural building specialist has been fined after a worker was put into intensive care after falling 10 metres through a roof.

CK Steelwork & Cladding Ltd was carrying out work on the roof of a building on the Heathlands Industrial Estate in Carlisle, Cumbria, in March 2022, a statement from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.

The roof was known to be fragile and safety nets were being put in place, but had not been fully installed when Craig Dickson, 39, was taken onto the roof by a supervisor, investigators found.

A weak skylight gave way when Dickson walked on it and he fell head-first onto the concrete floor below.

He was in intensive care for six weeks, then spent five months in a wheelchair, as well as shattering most of the bones in his face, hands and wrists. He has trouble breathing because of a broken nose and severely damaged his knee.

According to the HSE statement, Dickson will never be able to return to his construction work.

In a victim impact statement, Dickson said: “Before my accident I was a very physically and mentally active person and attended the gym on a daily basis and was a keen fell walker and liked to socialise.

“I am now left in severe pain and now have anxiety and I’m always anxious and find it hard, if not impossible, to do anything like I did before the accident.”

Dickson now sees a psychiatrist every week to try to deal with the anxiety caused by his injuries, he said.

CK Steelwork & Cladding Ltd of Barras Lane Estate, Dalston, Carlisle, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

It was fined £16,000 and ordered to pay £4,462.59 in costs at a hearing at Carlisle Magistrates Court on 31 August.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Michael Griffiths said: “This was a very serious incident, and it is fortunate Craig wasn’t killed.

“Work on fragile roofs should be planned and controlled, otherwise there is a very high likelihood of a potentially fatal fall, or one resulting in life-changing injuries, as we have seen in this case.”

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