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Firm fined after worker falls through roof

A construction company was fined £8,000 today after a worker was left blind in one eye after he fell through a roof, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said.

Gwyndaf Davies, then 21, suffered multiple spine and facial fractures and a brain injury and was hospitalised for nine months after he fell three metres onto a concrete floor while helping re-roof a farm building, the HSE said.

He needed facial reconstructive surgery and eye surgery and was left blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other after the incident at Penwerddu Farm in Boncath in April 2009.

Delme L James Ltd, of Pencaer Bryn Ewan, Cynwyl Elfed, Carmarthenshire, today admitted breaching safety regulations regarding working at height at Haverfordwest Magistrates Court.

Mr Davies, from Carmarthen, west Wales, has limited speech, cannot walk without aid and receives intensive physiotherapy and speech therapy.

He is likely to require significant care for the rest of his life, the executive said.

He had worked for the company since leaving school.

An investigation by the HSE found the company did not plan, supervise or carry out the work safely.

There was only limited protection to prevent workers falling from the roof and no measures to prevent them falling into the building.

Anne Marie Orrells, HSE inspector, said: "Mr Davies is a young man who has suffered dreadful injuries as a result of this accident which could have resulted in his death.

"This situation could so easily have been prevented and Mr Davies and his family are still trying to come to terms with the lasting effects of what has happened.

"Falls from height are one of the major causes of death and serious injury in the construction industry. The regulations are clear and well established but HSE continues to see tragic cases such as this resulting from employers not fulfilling their duty to protect workers.

"There is a great deal of guidance freely available on the HSE website, so there is no excuse for getting it wrong - especially given the severity of the consequences."