Farmer fined after worker falls through roof

Fragile roof & drill_65216

A farmer has been fined £26,000 by North East Wales Magistrates’ Court after a worker fell through the fragile roof of his milking shed.

Robert Latham, 64, of Knolton Farm, Overton, has also been ordered to pay £3922.60 in costs and a surcharge of £170.

David Alan Rees, 56, a self-employed contractor, had been clearing out the valley gutter from a ladder when he was fatally injured on 19 July 2018.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that Mr Latham failed to plan the work at height and did not have any suitable equipment available to do the work safely.

Speaking after the prosecution, HSE inspector, Mhairi Duffy said “There are no winners in this tragic case. Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers and contractors in the safe system of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the death could have been prevented.”

In court, Mr Latham’s barrister had said the case was “genuinely tragic” and that his client “thought he had a safe system of work in place. He didn’t”.

The Farm Safety Partnership, a 40-strong group of agricultural organisations that is aiming to cut the number of farming fatalities by at least 50% by 2023, will launch a working at height safety campaign later this year.

The campaign will focus on delivering four key messages:

  1. Avoid roof work or work at height maintaining buildings. Do as much as you can from the ground e.g. use extending equipment to clear gutters.
  2. Avoid doing the work yourself. Use a professional contractor with the knowledge, skills equipment and experience to safely work at height on buildings.
  3. On very rare occasions where roof work, or building maintenance at height cannot be avoided make sure the work is planned and carried out by people with the right training and equipment. For example trained and experienced people using a mobile elevating work platform or scaffold.
  4. Don’t be tempted to use the wrong equipment. Being lifted on the forks or bucket of a telehandler is illegal.

The Health and Safety Executive has published more detailed guidance here on how to work at height safely.

Further information is also available from NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.

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Last edited on: 22:05:2019

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  • Posted by: EDWARD SMITHPosted on: 07/06/2019 19:36:42

    Comment: If Mr Rees was Self-employed how come that the farmer was at fault?

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