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Bone-breaking fall leads to tiny fine

A small Hampshire contractor has been fined less than £240 after an employee fell 3 m through a fragile roof, suffering a broken collarbone, fractured ribs and a fractured skull in three places.

Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court ruled that Profile Construction & Interiors must pay a fine of £234 after the August 2007 incident. The accident happened while the employee was applying self-adhesive flashboard to a chimney on the roof of a local industrial building.

The court heard the boards on which the man had been working had no coverings or guardrails to prevent him falling through the roof.

Speaking after the case, Health and Safety Executive inspector Joanna Woodcock said: “The fine was based on the company’s financial situation. They are a small, local company with a low profit and therefore the fine had to reflect this.

“The mitigating circumstances were that the company entered a guilty plea and the district judge commented that they were honest and straightforward in court.

“The fine was relevant to the limitations of the company.”

The district judge said that although the victim’s injuries were serious, they were not permanent and he had made a full recovery.

In addition to the fine, the company was ordered to pay £200 costs and a victim surcharge of £15 for breaching the Work at Height Regulations.