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Construction Company Guilty of Negligence in Roof Fall Case

A construction company has been found guilty of negligence in a case involving a teenager falling from the roof of a building, resulting in the fracture of her pelvis and back.

In October 2013, an anonymous mental health patient-known to be seventeen years old at the time-sustained severe injuries after falling from a roof at the Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire. An investigation was launched into the accident, which revealed that the female patient had climbed to the roof via the scaffolding that had been erected to replace part of the hospital’s roof.

After climbing the scaffolding, the teenager walked across the roof and reached a gap between two buildings. As she tried to cross the gap, she fell six metres to the ground below her. Due to the impact with the ground, the patient fractured her back and pelvis. She was brought to hospital, where she stayed for several weeks.

W Hughes and Son Ltd-the company responsible for the scaffolding-was found liable for the girl’s injuries. This finding was on the bases that the company had failed to adequately fence off the steps which led to the scaffolding tower, this allowing the patient to access them with ease.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the construction company for being in breach of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. They claimed that their negligence had resulted in the fall from roof accident.

W Hughes and Son Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges against them at the Preston Magistrates Court. The HSE fined them £10,000, and ordered them to pay a further £516 in prosecution costs.

The HSE inspector involved with the case-Chris Smith-stated: “A vulnerable teenager was badly injured because W Hughes and Son Ltd failed to make sure its scaffolding was properly fenced off. Construction firms have a legal duty to make sure construction sites are secure and clearly signed but that didn’t happen in this case. It’s vital that companies think carefully about how they plan projects in public places, such as hospitals, so that members of the public are not put at risk”.