A dairy farm near Bodmin has been fined after a teenager worker fell more than 20 feet through a roof onto a concrete floor.

Mike Rossiter was just 18 when a rooflight in the shed roof he was clearing gutters on CP Button's dairy farm at St Tudy gave way.

He fell more than 20 feet onto the concrete floor below, rupturing his spleen and liver, fracturing his elbow and several vertebrae in his back.

South West Farmer: Mr Rossiter fell 20 feet when the roof gave wayMr Rossiter fell 20 feet when the roof gave way (Image: HSE)

Mr Rossiter was airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where he underwent surgery and had a metal plate inserted into his arm.

“I was in hospital for two-and-a-half weeks,” he explained.

“I have been left with permanent damage in my arm and no longer have full movement and I’m unable to lift and carry heavy things.

“I recently found the cold weather is making it worse, so I now have to take the weather into account when I am working outside.”

Mr Rossiter had been a keen rugby player before the incident. Today, nearly two years later, he is back at work and is being fully-supported by his employer, he still fears for his long-term future in farming.

“My employer has given me a job that doesn’t involve heavy lifting,” he said.

“I don’t know how much longer I will be able to keep working in the farming industry as a result of my injuries.

“I am hoping this will not be the case as I enjoy what I am doing and would not like to leave the profession.”

South West Farmer: The teenage worker was clearing the gutters on the shed roofThe teenage worker was clearing the gutters on the shed roof (Image: HSE)

Plymouth Magistrates Court heard that employees of C.P. Button Limited were clearing the gutters on the grain and silage pit shed roofs on July 13, 2021.

Although they were using crawling boards, Mr Rossiter had stood on a fragile rooflight, which failed under his weight, causing him to fall.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to control the risk of falls.

They failed to adequately assess the risks and did not have a safe system of work.

Wider failings were identified in respect of the information, instruction, training and supervision provided for the employees involved.

CP Button Limited pleaded guilty at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court on 20 April to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, after failing to ensure so far as reasonably practicable the health and safety and welfare at work of all its employees against the risk of falling when carrying out the planned maintenance task of clearing gutters.

The company was fined £63,466 and ordered to pay £4,223.50.

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HM Inspector of Health and Safety James Hole said: “This was a wholly avoidable incident which resulted in life changing injuries.

“Roughly half the deaths and serious injuries caused by falls in agriculture involve work on fragile roofs.

“Any work on roofs should be adequately planned and suitable protection should be provided which will normally include a combination of coverings, guard rails, safety nets and safety harnesses.”