Dad tells of lucky escape after fall

Lee Byrne
Lee Byrne
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A WIGAN dad has spoken of how a scaffolding bar saved him from death as he plunged almost 40ft through a roof.

Lee Byrne, of Higher Ince, was working for K Pendlebury and Sons Ltd to replace the raised roof on the sports hall at Loreto High School in Chorlton-cum-Hardy with a flat roof when the panels under his feet gave way.

He fell 37ft, hitting a section of scaffolding on his way down to the ground.

He suffered a fractured pelvis, broken fingers and his right arm and elbow were smashed to pieces.

He has had to have an artificial elbow fitted and has so far been unable to return to work due to the extent of his injuries.

The father-of-one said: “I was walking across the roof but the safety barriers were not there and I went straight through.

“Luckily, I hit a scaffolding bar which broke my fall. If it had not been for that I would have died.

“I can remember everything about it - lying on the floor and looking up from where I fell and thinking my injuries could have been a lot worse.

“Now I am stuck at home because I can’t work, which is very depressing.

“I have worked with the company for almost three years and have been in roofing for eight years and I have always felt safe.”

K Pendlebury and Sons Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found the site fell below the minimum legal standards for safety.

The company, of Ormskirk Road, Pemberton, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £3,539 towards the cost of the prosecution.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court in Sale heard workers had removed old steel beams under part of the roof so that new beams could be installed, but the corrugated tin panels on part of the structure were left unsupported.

Lee added: “The fact that the company has pleaded guilty means it knows it did not have the right health and safety measures.

“I just want to make sure it doesn’t happen in future,”

HSE Inspector Matt Greenly said: “The injuries the employee has suffered will affect him for the rest of his life but he could easily have been killed if he hadn’t hit the scaffolding on the way to the ground.

“I issued an immediate Prohibition Notice when I visited the site preventing anyone from working on the roof until safety measures had been put in place due to the risk of injury.

“The company had been removing a series of supporting steel beams but no barriers were put up to prevent access to the fragile roof panels despite the company recognising before the incident that barriers would be needed.

“There should also have been scaffolding under the whole of the roof to catch anyone who fell.

“This was a big project that should have been carefully planned but sadly the company’s failings have led to an employee being badly injured.”