Chimney worker’s life in tatters after 20ft fall

A Halifax worker broke his back after plunging more than 20ft from the roof of this two-storey home in Leeds. Halifax company Fluetech Ltd has been ordered to pay more than �17,000 after admitting three health and safety offences.

A Halifax worker broke his back after plunging more than 20ft from the roof of this two-storey home in Leeds. Halifax company Fluetech Ltd has been ordered to pay more than �17,000 after admitting three health and safety offences.

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A CHIMNEY worker’s life was shattered after he plunged more than 20ft from the roof of a two-storey house and broke his back, a court heard.

Halifax company Fluetech has been ordered to pay more than £17,000 after admitting responsibility.

The 33-year-old Halifax worker, who does not wish to be named, was about to install a flue liner when he fell from the roof of a house in Cookridge, Leeds.

He had put up a roof ladder and stepped on to it when it gave way and he plummeted to the ground. Unknown to him, there was a dormer extension on the other side of the roof so the ladder failed to hook over the ridge properly.

The man spent more than two weeks in hospital and his injuries will affect him the rest of his working life.

Fluetech admitted three health and safety offences at Leeds Magistrates’ Court.

The company, of Drakes Industrial Estate, Shay Lane, was fined £13,500 and ordered to pay costs of £3,873. The Health and Safety Executive said the firm failed to assess the risks and provide the correct equipment for the job.

Inspector David Welsh, of the HSE, said: “This worker has suffered horrendous and life-changing injuries as a result of the company’s numerous failures.

“What makes matters worse is that, after the man was taken to hospital, the company allowed its employees to finish that job and subsequently similar jobs, all using the same unsafe systems.

“The company relied too much on portable ladders.

“They should have used scaffolding or a tower scaffold.

“The company was very poor at assessing and managing the risks of working at heights.”

Fluetech was unavailable for comment.

Last year, more than 4,000 UK workers suffered major falls from heights and 12 of them died.