When is it possible to claim fragile roof fall injury compensation against an employer? I want to make a claim but my employer believes that he is not liable for my injuries.

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Question:

When is it possible to claim fragile roof fall injury compensation against an employer? I want to make a claim but my employer believes that he is not liable for my injuries.

Answer:

A claim for fragile roof fall injury compensation will be possible if you were injured in an accident while working on or around a fragile roof, and the accident could have been prevented by your employer had he fulfilled his legal obligations to make the workplace safe under the Work at Height Regulations.

If your employer believes that he is not liable for your injuries it is likely that he employed some safety measures to protect you from a fall from a height. In order for you to claim fragile roof fall injury compensation you must be able to prove that your employer has been negligent and has failed in a duty of care to protect you from harm. You will be required to prove that the measures taken by your employer were not sufficient under the circumstances, and that this constituted employer negligence and a failure in a duty of care to reduce the risk of a fall from a fragile roof.

The Work at Height Regulations place a legal responsibility on employers to ensure that work can be carried out safely and, when fragile roof surfaces need to be traversed or repaired, the risk of a fall from a height increases significantly. Under these regulations employers must ensure that the work is properly controlled and appropriate health and safety measures are implemented to reduce risk. A fragile roof fall injury compensation claim will also be possible if your employer failed to choose a method of completing the work which did not place workers at an excessive risk of injury.

Duck ladders or crawling boards should have been supplied to spread out your weight to enable you to work on the fragile roof safely. If crawling boards were supplied, these should have been at least 600mm wide and capable of spanning three supports. Safety harnesses and guard rails on crawling boards should also have been used as appropriate. Under the circumstances it may have been necessary to use scaffolding to ensure the work could be carried out safely. Failing to supply the proper health and safety equipment is grounds for claiming fragile roof fall injury compensation if this could have prevented a fragile roof accident.

All work must have been properly planned taking full consideration of the strength of the roof, the weight of the workers and any equipment which was needed to be used to complete the job. The weather conditions must also have been properly assessed with wet or windy weather increasing the risk to workers considerably. A safe route to access the section of the roof which required repair should have been provided to limit the time spent on the fragile roof surface. Although your employer may have been under pressure to complete the job quickly, the safety of employees must always the paramount concern when working at a height on a fragile roof surface. A failure in any of these areas will be grounds for claiming fragile roof fall injury compensation.

You should speak with a personal injury solicitor about the circumstances of the accident and the safety measures used by your employer. Only after your case has been fully assessed will it be possible to determine whether you are entitled to claim fragile roof fall injury compensation for your injuries.