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North Devon fall from height

14th May 2014
A 67-year-old worker could make a work compensation claim after breaking his collarbone following a fall at work.

Roger Tryner was checking for loose corrugated metal sheets on the roof of a barn at Mambury Farm in North Devon when one of the wooden roof supports broke and he fell 12 feet to the floor. As well as his collarbone injury, he also suffered concussion and severe cuts and bruising.

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the farm was fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 in costs at North Devon magistrates' court in Bideford, after its owners pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations.

After the trial, HSE inspector Tony Makin commented that "this incident could have resulted in far worse injuries causing disability or even death. Simple steps, such as planning the work properly and using a platform would have prevented this unnecessary incident which has caused pain and distress to Mr Tryner."

He added that "anyone employing people to carry out roof repairs, particularly on older farm buildings, must assess the risks involved and take steps to minimise them."

Falls from height are a common reason for people to make a work compensation claim, with 10,499 incidents involving people falling from a range of heights. Of these occurrences, there were 4,200 serious injuries sustained – like Roger's in this case – and 22 deaths.

As the law currently stands, in order to ward off the possibility of facing a work compensation claim for falls from height, people in charge should ensure that all work at height is properly planned and organised; those involved are competent; a thorough risk assessment has been carried out; risks associated with fragile surfaces are properly controlled and the equipment used must be properly inspected and maintained.

If Roger does choose to make a work compensation claim for his injuries, he could look to the experience of Colin White from Altrincham, which we brought to you last month.

He fell from the back of his delivery van as he hadn't been properly trained in using the tail lift that was attached to the back of it. Colin was left temporarily paralysed by the fall from height and has been told that he will probably never be able to go back to work, which has resulted in him winning his work compensation claim.