A building maintenance company based in Cheshire has been fined £20,000 for poorly managing work at height while carrying out repairs to a roof and cleaning the gutters of a commercial unit in Wolverhampton.

While carrying out repair works to a fragile roof of a commercial unit, an apprentice employee fell through a skylight, Dudley Magistrates Court heard. The employee fell approximately six metres to the concrete floor of the warehouse below contacting the racking on the fall, on 29 January 2021. His injuries included fractures to the hip and wrist.

The HSE’s investigation found that employees had not been informed they were working on a fragile roof and no measures had been implemented for working on a fragile surface. The company failed to properly risk assess the task and to provide the appropriate control measures to prevent a fall.

The company pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and received a £20,000 fine. They were also ordered to pay costs of £3,873 and a victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Aaron Fisher said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known.”

The planning of work at height is essential and proper risk assessments should be undertaken to identify the hazards as well as the training required. Communication should also form part of the planning as all operatives involved need to know the findings in order that the proper control measures can be actioned to keep everyone safe.