Roof fall lands ​East Yorkshire farm ​owner in court​

An East Yorkshire farm owner has been fined nearly £10,000 for a safety law breach that led to a 20-year-old worker suffering severe injuries when he fell through a roof light.

Daniel, now 21, of Shaftesbury Avenue, Goole, fell 4.5 metres through a roof at Low Hunsley Farm in Cottingham near Beverley, puncturing a lung and kidney, cracking four ribs on July 19 last year.

He was in hospital for a week and was unable to work for six weeks.

He is still receiving physiotherapy to ease the longer-term impact of his injuries.

HSE found farm owner David Adamson had failed to consider the significant risks involved of working at height and had not put any safeguards or protective controls in place during the roof work.

Magistrates heard Mr Adamson had hired Daniel Boldan Hoggard to help out over the busy summer harvest period and to assist with building repairs and general farm work.

Both men had together made one attempt over several hours to fix the leak on the roof, which sloped from 4.1m to nearly 5m and had six roof lights along its 27m length.
After that failed, Mr Adamson asked Daniel to fit lead flashing where the leaks remained. It was while he was doing this that he tripped, lost his balance and plunged through the roof light on to the concrete below.

David Adamson, of Low Hunsley Farm, Little Weighton, Cottingham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £3,893.90 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Paul Eastell, who investigated the incident, said: “Daniel Boldan Hoggard is, frankly, lucky to be alive. Falls from height kill more workers than anything else and is one of the most common causes of death in agriculture, yet Mr Adamson did not put any safety measures in place to protect Daniel as he worked over four metres from the ground.

“Working at height, and even more so near fragile surfaces, is very high risk and yet HSE Inspectors continue to find dangerous practice and a disregard for common sense and inexpensive safety controls. In this case there should at least have been suitable platforms, guard rails and boarding over the roof lights.

“I’m pleased that Daniel has made a reasonable recovery from his injuries and I hope this case emphasises to the wider farming community the need to think carefully through the dangers involved in all work activities and then act to reduce those risks to their workers and themselves.”

 For guidance on working from height see: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/