Recent prosecutions - business fined £13,000 for fall-from-height incident 

A business park operator has been fined £13,000 following a serious fall from height that left a man with a fractured skull and collapsed lung. 

The worker tripped and fell almost four metres through an unprotected skylight while conducting roof repairs. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation showed his employer had not properly planned, risk assessed, or managed the work. 

Despite regular checks by the engineering manager over the three-week project, the company failed to reduce dangers posed by weak skylight panels, which should have been covered or rendered inaccessible by perimeter barriers.

The HSE inspector indicated the accident was entirely preventable, saying: ‘This work had been planned for around six months; however, the risk assessments were inadequate. Work had carried on for three weeks prior to the incident, and the manager had visited, yet no action to prevent the fall through the roof light was taken.’

The company was fined £13,000 and ordered to pay £2,666 costs. 

Minimise fall-from-height risks in your workplace 

According to HSE statistics, a quarter of workplace fatalities between 2017 and 2022 resulted from falls. Of the 693,000 non-fatal injuries recorded in 2019/20, 8% (55,440) were falls from height. Most of these involved falls from less than two metres.

Suitable and sufficient work-at-height risk assessments help you avoid accidents and fatalities within your own business. Your main objective is eliminating the need to work from height and looking for ways to complete tasks at ground level.

If work at height is unavoidable, ensure your team is equipped with stable, purpose-built equipment to reduce fall risks. 

  • Evaluate your branch in detail, reviewing where work at height happens and the unique risks within each area. 
  • Pay particular attention to racking, mezzanines, retail shelving spaces, and vehicle access points. 
  • Consider environmental fall hazards, such as slippery surfaces, poor lighting, and space restrictions. 

Your risk assessment should also make sure your team members: 

  • Can get safely to and from where they work at height.
  • Are not overloaded or overreaching when working at height.
  • Are protected from falling objects.
  • Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces.
  • Are trained on equipment use and safe working practices. 

Get expert advice from the Opus team 

To prevent falls and reduce safety risks across your business, get in touch with our experienced team. We’ll highlight key compliance issues and create practical H&S solutions to protect your employees from work-at-height hazards. 

Contact us on or 0330 043 4015.