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FRAGILE ROOFLIGHT CLAIMS ANOTHER LIFE

Failure to follow basic health and safety procedures caused fatal fall

CRN Contracts Ltd have been ordered to pay almost £40k in fines and prosecution costs after workman, David Battison, fell through a rooflight and died in May 2005. The company admitted offences under the HSW Act  and the Work at Height Regulations.

The court heard that David Battisson, aged 49, was working with a colleague applying anti-corrosion paint to bolts on the corrugated roof of a superstore when David fell 10m to the floor through a fragile rooflight light.

HSE Inspector Warren Pennington said: “It’s shocking that basic health and safety procedures weren’t followed and extremely sad that, ultimately, it led to a man’s death. CRN Contracts Ltd did not provide adequate supervision of the work. It should have used boards to cover the fragile roof lights, and protected the area around the perimeter of the roof.”

“The company also failed to cordon off the floor under the section of roof it was working on to protect the public from the work. Roof maintenance can be extremely dangerous if proper health and safety rules aren’t followed. I hope this case will help to remind people that it’s simply not worth taking risks.”

Comment: This case predates the introduction of both CDM 2007 and the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007. The risks involved in working on or near fragile roofs are so well known that clients for such work will find themselves subject to a police and HSE investigation where there is a death after this legislation came into force.

Clients are no longer be able to rely upon arguments that “health and safety is a matter for the contractor”. Clients must check  management arrangements for such high risk work and cooperate and coordinate their activities with any contractor engaged on their premises.

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