Accident at work leaves chimney sweep needing more than a spoonful of sugar

Published: 14/11/2013

A specialist chimney and roof company has been fined £20,000 after one its’ employees was injured in an accident at work.

Dylan Skelhorn had been sweeping the chimney of a two-storey property when he fell and fractured two ribs and his pelvis as well as suffering a collapsed lung. The injuries sustained in the workplace accident were so severe that he was hospitalised for five days and requires ongoing physiotherapy. He has also been unable to return to work following the accident which occurred in June 2011.

D Henderson Chimney Specialists and Roofers Ltd were found guilty of failing to ‘carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, provide adequate training or employ a safe system of work for employees engaged in the task of chimney sweeping’.

Health and Safety Executive Inspector, Kerry Elliot, comments on the accident at work case:

“This incident was entirely preventable. Falls from height are the biggest cause of death and injury in the workplace, and wherever possible employers should try and avoid the need for working at height.

“HSE’s investigation clearly showed that this chimney could have been cleaned from within the property – something this company did not even consider at the time.

“If it is not possible to avoid working at height then employers must ensure that they provide employees with the necessary equipment to keep them safe. Mr Skelhorn wasn’t provided with any equipment to prevent fall or injury and is still suffering from the effects of his injuries two years later.”

Content correct at time of publication

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