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FATAL FALL THROUGH HANGER ROOF

Contractor fell to his death during dismantling of hangar roof at airport

Rubb Buildings Limited, of Gateshead has been prosecuted by HSE and fined £100k after employee Steven Watson, aged 30, fell through a roof.

The incident occurred during dismantling of the disused Brymon hangar on 16 December 2006 at Bristol International Airport.

Workman fell through opening he had cut in roof

The roof covering comprised a PVC tarpaulin and a section of the covering had previously been cut away by Mr Watson. As he went to climb back into a mobile work platform below Mr Watson fell some 10m through the opening that had been created. He landed on the hangar concrete floor and died at the scene from multiple internal injuries.

WORKMAN FELL 10M THROUGH OPENING

Rubb Buildings Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching HSW Act Section 2(1) and were ordered to pay almost £150k on fines and prosecutions costs.

Death could have been avoided – “there was not need to work directly on the roof”

Bristol Crown Court heard that there were no other protective measures in place and Rubb Buildings Ltd should have ensured that Mr Watson had no need to climb directly onto the roof.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector, Steve Frain, said: “Steven Watson should have been properly protected by Rubb Buildings Ltd, instead he lost his life.

“The company failed in its duty to ensure there was a properly planned and supervised means of working – there should have been no need to work directly on the roof.

“Falls from height can be extremely serious risks and adequate safety measures must be in place to protect all workers in order to prevent tragic incidents such as this.”

Comment

The sentence in this case is consistent with recent guidelines stating that an appropriate fine in H&S cases involving a death should “seldom be less than £100,000“.

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