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CONTRACTORS AND DIRECTOR PROSECUTED OVER DEATH

Fragile roof light fatal fall occurred during refurb cladding operations  

Two firms and a company director have been prosecuted after roofer Carl Pearson fell some 6m whilst working on a building in Bournemouth on 1 December 2007. He died the following day.

The 42-year-old was engaged by Cladcoat UK Ltd, a cladding refurbishment company, to replace damaged roof lights as part of remedial works. Cladcoat had brought in Mr Pearson to carry out this part of the work, as it did not have the necessary expertise.

Cladcoat had been contracted to carry out the roof work and external steel cladding work, by Bridport company TRN Electrical Ltd, which had obtained the original contract for the project.

HSE investigators found that an inadequate risk assessment and method statement had been produced resultinf work on a fragile roof without means of fall prevention or mitigation.

Death due to ‘collective failures’ of those involved

TRN Electrical Ltd, of Cold Harbour Business park, Sherbourne, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the act and was fined £30,000, plus costs of £14,850.

Cladcoat UK Ltd, of The Stables, Longham Business Centre, 168 Ringwood Road, Longham, also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the act and was fined £10,000, with no costs.

Jeremy Walton, Director of Cladcoat Ltd, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) and 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Mr Walton, of Tarrant Keyneston, Blandford Forum, was given a conditional discharge.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Frank Flannery said:

“This was a wholly preventable incident in which a man in his prime – a father-of-two – lost his life. This incident was not the result of the actions of an individual; rather it is the result of collective failures.

Had a suitable risk assessment been undertaken, for risks that were known to all parties, and a safe system of work established, this tragic incident would not have happened. The two companies involved, whilst being aware of the risks, did not fully understand their duties and responsibilities under the law.

Whilst I welcome today’s outcome, the fact remains that a man has unnecessarily lost his life. I hope that other companies can learn from this, and appreciate the high risk involved with work at height on fragile roofs. As this case shows, being aware of the risk is not enough to prevent it from happening.”

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