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7th June 2023

Bradford Man Sentenced After Employee Falls Through Roof

man working on roof

What’s Happened?

A Bradford man has recently been given a suspended prison sentence after an employee sustained life-threatening injuries when he fell 30-feet through a fragile roof and landed on pallets below.

Leeds Crown Court heard how the injured employee was working on the roof of a unit in Shipley. However, he fell through the fragile roof landing on pallets approximately 36-feet below. He suffered extensive injuries including broken ribs, a partially collapsed lung, a shattered left wrist and a broken left elbow.

HSE Investigation

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ensued in the aftermath of the accident. HSE found that the injured employee had made previous repairs to the roof at the site but had needed to return to the roof to undertake further work.

HSE discovered that no risk assessment was undertaken for working on the fragile roof. Safe access to the roof, and the risk of falling through or from the roof were not considered and subsequently no controls of any sort were put in place to prevent the risk of falls from height.

In Court

The company owner pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was given a nine-month sentence (suspended for two years). As well as the suspended prison sentence he must also complete 150 hours unpaid work and was ordered to pay £2,500 in costs.

After the case, the HSE inspector involved said: “Falls through fragile roofs and fragile roof lights cause death and serious injury.  They account for almost a fifth of all the fatal accidents which result from a fall from height in the construction industry.’’

It’s better to avoid working on fragile roofs at all but if you have to, always assess the risk and employ safe control measures like installing perimeter edge protection, the use of staging on the roof surface to spread the loads or installing safety nets underneath the roof to prevent the distance and consequence if a fall does occur. If you have any queries regarding work at height, risk assessments or training etc then don’t hesitate to call our advice line today on 030 303 5228, or email us at

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