THE DANGER OF ROOFING WORK
A recent case in which BRADFORD LEGAL have secured a settlement for a client involved a plaintiff who, whilst carrying out work in his trade as an electrician, fell through polyurethane sheeting on commercial premises.
The plaintiff had been sent to the worksite by his employer to carry out testing on security lighting. There was limited access to the roof and the plaintiff was required to traverse a pitched roof which consisted of a mixture of polyurethane (clear) sheeting and aluminium sheeting in order to gain access to an area where testing was required.
Although the plaintiff took great care, he unfortunately stepped on a polyurethane sheet which collapsed beneath him causing him to fall through the roof to the concrete floor of the premises and suffer serious injury.
The plaintiff was unable to use a ladder to access the testing area directly. Due to the nature of the job, it was not economically viable to engage an elevated work platform or cherry picker.
Although the plaintiff knew of the dangers of walking on polyurethane sheeting and endeavoured to avoid stepping on the polyurethane sheeting, despite his best efforts he did so and fell.
Luckily for the plaintiff he was covered with workers’ compensation insurance, and although he suffered serious injuries, was able to return to work as an electrician.
Building Codes now require fragile roofing to be installed with protective mesh beneath. The roof through which the plaintiff fell did not contain protective mesh.
The plaintiff was able to secure a lump sum settlement as his employer was liable in negligence for the fall. The plaintiff would have had difficulty in obtaining compensation from the owner of the premises who had contracted the plaintiff’s employer to carry out the work and was not responsible specifically for the plaintiff walking on an area of fragile roofing.
The case is an illustration of the dangers of working at heights on fragile, sometimes steep and slippery roofing, where quite commonly accidents can occur resulting in significant injuries.
BRADFORD LEGAL have handled numerous cases involving falls from and through roofs and are always available to provide advice in these circumstances.