A PORTLAND company will pay nearly £40,000 after an employee fell through a roof.

Portland Stone Firms admitted to failing to ensure the safety of an employee as required by section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 as he carried out repairs at its main depot in Easton Street.

The company also admitted to contravening regulation 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, which discusses the employers' responsibilities to provide suitable and sufficient platforms when working with fragile surfaces.

The firm's managing director, Geoffrey Smith, was in attendance at Weymouth Magistrates' Court yesterday afternoon.

On August 16, the employee had been carrying out repairs and replacing roof lights when he fell through a skylight onto a concrete floor, breaking a hip bone, the court heard.

Prosecutor Nigel Lyons said an agreement had been in place between the employee and Smith that he would be provided with equipment.

Mr Lyons said: “This is a matter where the Health and Safety Executive say an accident of this kind was foreseeable.”

He said the employee had asked for crawling boards but was told he would have to use ordinary scaffolding boards.

Dominic Adamson, mitigating, said the firm had failed to ensure that a safe system of work had been implemented.

But he said the employee had been previously worked without using crawling boards.

He said: “It was not understood by Mr Smith that the employee would be working on this particular area at this particular time.”

The bench heard how the company co-operated with the health and safety investigation and respected the prohibition notice it received following the incident.

Mr Adamson added: “We have evidence of a company with a good health and safety record over a period of time.”

Summing up, Sharon Morgan, chair of the bench, said this was a case where a 'fatal accident' could have occurred.

The firm was fined £10,000 on both charges. It was also ordered to pay £18,991.20 costs.

Speaking after the case, Mehtaab Hamid, an inspector at the Health and Safety Executive, said: “Employers must ensure that all work at height, particularly work on fragile roofs, is properly planned and organised and that employees are protected from falls.

“In this case, Portland Stone Firms Limited neglected to implement basic safety measures to minimise the risk of their employee falling through their roof.

“Employers have a legal duty to manage safety and failing to do so too often ends in tragedy.”