When sending workers up on to a fragile roof to carry out repairs, it’s wise to put your faith in walkovers and guardrails to prevent a fall, and not simply hoping for a miracle.
That is what the judge in a recent HSE case said is the only thing that prevented a roofer from being killed after he dropped 10 metres to land on a concrete floor.
He had expressed concerns about being sent up on to the roof – which was fragile and cracked – without any kind of safety equipment, but was told to do the work anyway.
On August 31st 2012, he fell through the roof of a Leicestershire farm building, breaking his neck, back and several ribs.
The man, named Andrew Bannister, said: “After the accident I had to use a walking stick permanently. I will be on painkillers for the rest of my life. The injury has changed my life completely.”
While the judge called it a miracle that Mr Bannister was not killed, that is likely to come as cold comfort given the lifetime of pain that lies ahead.
Rather than simply hoping for the best, similar incidents can be prevented using walkovers to protect against a fall through a fragile roof, and guardrails to stop individuals and objects from falling off the edge.