Durham firm fined for working at height safety breaches

A firm in County Durham has received a £2,000 fine for breaching health and safety regulations and failing to prevent a worker from falling and seriously injuring himself.

The worker, a 25-year-old from Hartlepool, was working at Murton Hall Farm in the summer of 2011 when the incident occurred. He was clearing debris from the roof of a barn, at the highest point of two boards that had been placed on the roof. Once he’d finished his task, he stepped off the boards onto the cement roof, which gave way and caused him to fall around three and a half metres to the floor. The employee seriously hurt his back in the fall, fracturing a bone at the base of his spine.

After investigating the incident, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) decided that the wooden boards that were used on top of the roof were not safe enough. They did not have any edge protection nor were there any guard rails or safety nets used to lessen the impact of a potential fall from height. These are safety measures that are covered in working from height safety training, so they should have been in place.

Tees Valley Compost Cleaning Services Ltd and its director, Michael Andrew Thompson, were both fined for health and safety failings. The company was given a £2,000 fine along with £3,500 in court costs, whilst the company director was ordered to pay £2,000 in fines.