AKM Fabrications


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Church fall ‘could have been avoided’ with walkovers and guardrails



Stronger walkovers fitted with guardrails could have prevented a fall through a church roof that left one man with a badly broken pelvis, the Health & Safety Executive reports.

Southampton father-of-three Allen Smith was working on repairing a hole in the roof of Anerley Methodist Church in Penge, south-east London, in October 2011.

He was standing on a lightweight staging board, grinding off bolts and passing asbestos cement sheets to labourers below him.

One of the labourers heard a bang and, on turning to see what had happened, saw Mr Smith and part of the staging board on the floor – he had suffered injuries to his pelvis and head, and a collapsed lung.

He is unlikely to work again, was hospitalised for two months, and faces long-term arthritis as a result of his injuries.

A safe walkover fitted with guardrails could have helped to prevent him from falling through the roof, or from the edge of the platform on which he was working.

HSE inspector Wendy Garnett said: “This is not acceptable when you consider the devastating effects that a fall has on the lives of workers and their families.

“Firms of all sizes need to be aware of their duties to identify the risks of working at height.”