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PRISON SENTENCE FOLLOWS FRAGILE ROOF FALL DEATH

Workman fell through fragile roof sheet during factory refurb work

A man has been given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £30,000 in compensation and prosecution costs after a workman died when he fell through the roof of a disused factory unit in Leicester.

Robert Jozwiak, 44, was repairing the roof on a former textile dye house on 3 June 2009 when the fragile roof gave way and he landed on the concrete floor 6m below. He had been instructed to carry out the work by Musa Suleman who was “helping to bring the building back into use”.

Mr Suleman, 56, of Leicester was prosecuted for failing to ensure the work he arranged to be carried out was properly planned, supervised or carried out in a safe manner. He pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was given a 12 month prison sentence suspended for two years at Leicester Crown Court.

He was also ordered to pay compensation of £13,800 to Mr Jozwiak’s family and full costs of £17,337.

Judge says preventing injury or death must be ‘top priority’

Passing sentence His Honour Judge Simon Hammond said Mr Jozwiak’s death was a terrible tragedy that could have been prevented. He said there were clear lessons to be learned and urged anyone working on buildings to treat health and safety as their top priority in order to prevent injury or death.

After the hearing HSE inspector Karl Raw said:

“The roof was made of corrugated asbestos cement sheets, and the work required careful planning and consideration of the risks involved. Tragically, Mr Suleman failed to do this and to properly supervise the work which resulted in the needless death of a husband and father.

Safe routes and protective equipment should have been in position to allow Mr Jozwiak to get to work areas without injury, and measures to prevent or mitigate any falls should have been in place.

Work at height remains a major cause of injury and fatalities in the workplace and for this reason it is important appropriate planning, supervision and safety measures are essential. This becomes even more critical when a job involves work on or near fragile roofing materials as at this site.”

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