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INQUEST INTO TEENAGER FALL THROUGH ROOF

Coroner hears how “bit of a laugh turned into a nightmare”

A Manchester inquest has heard how two teenagers raced each other on to the roof of a derelict shop after climbing newly-erected scaffolding . Both boys fell through the roof and one incurred fatal head injuries. The surviving lad said: “when we saw the security guard we thought he was a police officer and tried to run away – we didn’t want to get in trouble. When I saw him lying next to me he wasn’t moving and it felt like someone had taken the floor from under me. What had been a bit of a laugh had turned into a nightmare.”

Manchester Coroner Nigel Meadows said “I’d tell anyone else who’s bored in the holidays to think twice about doing something risky.” The court also heard that following the incident HSE required the site owners to fix boards across the bottom of the scaffolding. However, a director representing the owners advised the court that a safety advisor had previously told them no measures were needed. The mother of the deceased boy is believed to be seeking compensation through her solicitors. A verdict of accidental death was recorded

Comment: This tragic death is a timely reminder to parents and contractors as school half-terms approach. In particular, owners of homebuild sites which may have been closed for some months need to check that sites remain secure. HSE routinely issue the key messages for contractors and parents and this short video clip illustrates the range of situations that can involve children on construction projects.

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