Working on fragile roofs


A farm worker fell over three metres through a fragile roof of a farm building during the cleaning of valley gutters. He was one of a team of two who had been lifted onto the roof by a telescopic handler and then began to walk along the valley gutters. The valley gutter was too narrow and the men could not get their feet beside each other in the gutter. They were moving along with one foot in the gutter and the other on the nail line of the fragile roof sheets. As they were cleaning and moving along the gutter, one of the roof sheets gave way and he fell to the concrete floor below. He suffered head injuries and cuts to his feet.


The farm estate was prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 for failing to take reasonable precautions to prevent falls. They were fined £3,000.


Protection against falls is required wherever anyone works on or near fragile materials. Suitable protection will normally include a combination of coverings, guard rails, safety nets and safety harnesses. Simply walking the line of purlins should never be allowed.

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