HSE prosecutes Bizspace Investments after successive incidents leave one worker paralysed

A North-west firm has been fined £5,000 after three workers fell through skylights at the same building.

The three men fell from the roof of an industrial unit in Warrington on three separate occasions in March and April 2007 – leaving one of them paralysed.

Bizspace Investments, the building’s owner and employer of two of the men, was prosecuted by HSE for putting workers’ lives at risk.

Bizspace pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,000.

Warrington Crown Court heard that a caretaker employed by Bizspace fell through a fragile skylight while cleaning guttering, suffering multiple rib fractures and severe bruising.

Another Bizspace employee was sent to take photographs of the scene but fell through a different skylight. He landed feet-first on a mezzanine floor and escaped injury.

Three weeks later a 62-year-old man employed by Massey Roofing and Building Contractors was sent to repair the skylights and fell more than four metres to the ground below.  He sustained severe spinal injuries, leading to him being paralysed from the waist down.

Anthony Massey also pleaded guilty to breaching the same Act, but received a conditional discharge as he has been declared bankrupt. He will not be fined as long as he does not commit another offence in the next 12 months.

Martin Heywood, the investigating inspector at HSE, said:  ”It is astonishing that virtually the same incident was allowed to happen on three separate occasions.

“A man was sent onto a roof without safety equipment, despite two caretakers falling through skylights less than a month earlier.

“As a result, the worker is likely to need to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. If the project had been properly planned, using appropriate equipment for work at height, then all three workers would have remained uninjured.