“Firm fined after chimney sweep injured in fall” Asons Solicitors Comment

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According to the HSE, a Clackmannanshire-based firm has been fined for safety failings, after a chimney sweep fell from the chimney stack of a two storey house in Falkirk. (1)

On the 20 June 2011, Dylan Skelhorn, 32, from Tillicoultry, was employed by the D Henderson Chimney Specialists and Roofers Limited, when he suffered from an accident at work. (1)

Mr Skelhorn was positioned on the top of a chimney stack, sweeping the chimney before he fell, sliding down the sloped roof of the property, before he fell five metres to the neighbouring garden below. (1)

He fractured two ribs, suffered a collapsed lung, and fractured his pelvis, requiring a five day stay in hospital and ongoing physiotherapy and pain relief. He has been unable to return to work, still suffers chronic pain, and he continues to use crutches. (1)

D Henderson Chimney Specialists and Roofers Limited were prosecuted on the 5th of November 2013 after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation discovered that the company had taken no precautions to protect Mr Skelhorns wellbeing. In addition, the company had failed to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments, provide the appropriate training, or employed a safe system of work for employees engaged in the task of chimney sweeping. These failures exposed workers to an unacceptable level of risk. (1)

Commenting on the incident Thomas Fairclough, Asons Executive stated that;

Falls from height are the most common cause of workplace deaths; luckily these injuries were not fatal. however Mr Skelhorn has still endured serious personal injury, injuries that could have been prevented if the correct health and safety procedures had been implemented.”

D Henderson Chimney Specialists and Roofers Ltd, of Marshall House, Glenfoot, Clackmannanshire, was fined £20,000, after pleading guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. (1) (S1031112013)

Following the case, HSE Inspector Kerry Elliot, said:

“This incident was entirely preventable. Falls from height are the biggest cause of death and injury in the workplace, and wherever possible employers should try and avoid the need for working at height. (1)

“HSE’s investigation clearly showed that this chimney could have been cleaned from within the property – something this company did not even consider at the time. (1)

“If it is not possible to avoid working at height then employers must ensure that they provide employees with the necessary equipment to keep them safe. Mr Skelhorn wasn’t provided with any equipment to prevent fall or injury and is still suffering from the effects of his injuries two years later.” (1)

According to the HSE, falls from height remain the most common cause of workplace fatality. In 2008/09 there were 35 fatalities, and over 4000 major injuries due to a fall from height. (2)

If you, or someone you know, have suffered, then you may be able to make a fall at work claim. Asons Solicitors deal with personal injury claims on a regular basis, you can contact them on: 01204 521 133 or you can fill out their claim form at http://www.asons.co.uk.

(1)    Firm fined after chimney sweep injured in fall - http://press.hse.gov.uk/2013/firm-fined-after-chimney-sweep-injured-in-fall/ - HSE November 2013
(2)    Falls From Height Statistics- http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/statistics.htm - HSE November 2013

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About Asons Solicitors:

Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

For further information contact:
Email: info(at)asons(dot)co(dot)uk
Website: http://www.asons.co.uk

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Imran Akram
Asons Solicitors

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