UK: The manager of an air conditioning contractor in Essex received a suspended sentence after a worker broke his back falling 5m to the ground.
The October 2019 incident occurred after Brentwood-based Coolzone Air Conditioning Ltd was hired to replace an air conditioning unit in a commercial space in Billericay.
As part of the work, an employee, who had never worked on a roof before, had to go to the roof to replace an air conditioning condensing unit. After gaining access to the roof via a man’s cage, the worker fell through a skylight to the warehouse floor 5 m below. The employee sustained a broken back and has not returned to work since the incident.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that company director Daniel Biagioni had visited the site a month before the incident and, as part of his risk assessment, identified that the skylights on the warehouse roof presented a fall hazard.
However, Mr Biagioni failed to implement the controls he identified in his risk assessment and sent the inexperienced apprentice to the roof unattended.
Daniel Biagioni pleaded guilty to violating section 37 (1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1974 and was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 12 months. As part of his sentence, he must perform 150 hours of unpaid work. Mr Biagioni was also ordered to pay costs of £ 4,886 and a victim fine surcharge.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David, Tonge said: “Rooftop work is a high risk activity and homework holders should make sure they put measures in place to protect themselves. against this risk.
“Falls from heights often result in fatal or life-changing injuries. In most cases, these incidents are unnecessary and could be avoided by properly planning the work to ensure that effective prevention and protection measures are in place.