8 month prison sentence following fatal fall

The HSE has reported on a court case involving a Manchester Building Contractor who engaged unqualified labourers for roof works.

The building contractor has been jailed for 8 months following the death of a casual labourer who fell nearly seven metres through a fragile roof.

The 45-year-old labourer from Manchester had been carrying out repair work when the incident occurred on 23 November 2013.

The building contractor had been engaged by the warehouse owner, who believed him to be competent, to carry out repair and maintenance work on the warehouse roof. He then hired two people to do the work.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that both workers were not qualified to carry out work at height. They had accessed the roof via a ladder in order to repair and seal leaking guttering. No safety precautions were in place to protect the two men from the danger of falling through the fragile roof.

Manchester Crown Court heard that The building contractor failed to assess the risks or put a safe working method in place. No suitable training or equipment to work on the roof had been provided.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Mike Sebastian is reported to have said: ”The dangers of falls through fragile roofs and working at height are well known. Simple steps such as removing the need to access the roof directly by using mobile working platforms, or boarding out the roof, or using safety harnesses, can and should be used to prevent accident and injury.

The failure to take any such actions resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life.

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