Oldham Council hit with £7,000 fine after school caretaker injured in roof fall

By Aimee Howarth

A £7,000 fine was slapped on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council in court yesterday for breaching health and safety after a school caretaker was injured in a fall from a shed roof.

The 61-year-old, who asked not to be named, injured his knees, ankles, neck and right hand in the incident at Beever Primary School on Moorby Street on July 27, 2010.

He retired after being unable to return to work full-time and the local authority was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to take sufficient measures to prevent the fall.

The council was found guilty of breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 as the caretaker had no training on working at height, and also had to pay £12,260 prosecution costs.

HSE Inspector Alex Farnhill said: “It’s disappointing that the caretaker had been working at the school for six years without receiving any training on how to work safely at height.

“Using a stepladder or carrying out other work above the ground was part of his job, and it should therefore have been a council priority to make sure he could do this safely.

“Work at height is one of the biggest causes of workplace deaths and injuries in the UK, and this case should act as a warning to employers about the dangers.”

During the two-day trial, Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard the caretaker had been carrying out maintenance work to the shed’s roof, which had recently been vandalised and was leaking.

The worker had climbed onto the roof and was attempting to place plastic sheeting on it when he tripped and fell backwards, landing on a concrete floor three metres below.

Picture courtesy of Google Maps, with thanks.

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