The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Court highlights risk to Supervisors who break the law

Graham Marshall - Sunday, June 16, 2013

A supervisor has been prosecuted and fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £9,765.88 costs after a worker  fell ten metres from a roof and was left paralysed from the neck down.

Phillip Giles fell through a fragile roof after supervisor Paul Burke allowed workers, who were removing cement sheets, to go onto the roof.

The court was told Mr Burke’s employer had agreed a system of work where its employees used scissor lifts, removing the roof sheets from the underside.

Mr Burke supervised the work on site and permitted a change to the system of work, whereby he and other employees went onto the roof itself to carry out some of the work.

The Court found Mr Burke had sanctioned an unsafe system of work.

The company was unaware of the changed way of working and Mr Burke had failed to consult with them.

Paul Joseph Burke, 56, of Lightcliffe Road, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1)(b) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 between 4 August and 5 September 2011 by failing to properly supervise work at height and make sure it was carried out safely.

Those who supervise work at height have a responsibility to ensure that it is carried out in a manner which is safe and which guards against the risk of injury from a fall.

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