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Darlington contractor fined after worker's fall
A BUILDING contractor has been fined £12,000 after a worker was left severely brain damaged following a fall from a house roof.
Mark Lambton, from Darlington, was working for James Wilson, trading as J Wilson Home Improvements, when the incident happened in July last year.
Mr Wilson had secured work to replace roof tiles, point ridge tiles and fit a dry verge system to the gable end of a house in Wheeldale Close, Darlington. Mr Lambton and a third man were hired to assist.
Darlington Magistrates’ Court was told yesterday that Mr Lambton was on the roof clearing concrete debris and fell six to seven metres while attempting to move onto a set of ladders at the gable end of the property. He landed on the path at the side of the property.
The 50-year-old was taken to hospital and spent more than two months in a drug-induced coma.
He remains in a vegetative state with no likelihood of improvement, the court was told.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the manner in which the work was carried out was unsafe, as there were no precautions to prevent the workers from falling from the roof.
Mr Wilson, 52, of Mallard Road, Darlington was fined and ordered to pay £3,000 costs after admitting breaching regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Emma Scott, said: “The dangers of death and serious injury associated with falls from height during roof work are well known, and allowing such work to be carried out without any safety measures is totally unacceptable.
“This incident could have been easily avoided if appropriate edge protection and safe access had been put in place to prevent falls.
“Instead, Mr Lambton has suffered life-changing injuries that have left him in a vegetative state with no likelihood of improvement or recovery.”
Falls from height remain the most common cause of workplace fatality, the HSE said.
In 2010-11 there were 20 fatalities, almost 4,000 major injuries and thousands more injuries that caused the injured person to be off work for three days or more, due to a fall from height.
Efforts to contact Mr Wilson for comment were unsuccessful.