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CLIENT DIRECTOR PROSECUTED OVER ROOFLIGHT FATAL FALL

Project not overseen by someone with appropriate knowledge and experience 

A company director has been prosecuted after a workman fell to his death through a fragile roof on an industrial building in Cornwall on 22 September 2008.

Acryflor Ltd engaged Paul Gibbons, aged 59, to carry out re-roofing work for Acryflor Ltd at the Kernick Road Industrial Estate. Mr Gibbons fell 8m through a fragile rooflight within the asbestos cement roof to the floor below. He was taken to hospital but died of his injuries later that day.

Truro Crown Court heard that Onyx Europe Ltd, (formerly Acryflor Ltd) failed to put adequate safety measures in place despite the risks involved with working at height. The work was inadequately planned and safety nets or crash deck platforms were not provided to mitigate the effects of a fall.

Sentence reflects director’s massive debts and low income

Matthew Peter Williams, of Trelan Farm, Menerdue Lane, Carnmenellis, Redruth pleaded guilty to an offence by virtue of HSW etc Act 1974 Section 37 (1) . He was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,500 after the judge heard he was £1.5 million in debt and had an annual income of £15,000.

HSE Inspector, Jon Harris, speaking after the hearing, said:

“Mr Gibbons’ death could have been prevented if the work had been planned properly and industry standards, such as providing netting, had been applied. The risks of working at height are well-known and falls through fragile materials are the cause of one in five deaths in the construction industry.

Acryflor Ltd had a duty of care to Mr Gibbons not to expose him to risk as far as was reasonably practical. Mr Williams, as a director of Acryflor, shared that duty.

The company should have employed a planning co-ordinator to develop a construction plan for this work and the project should have been overseen by someone with appropriate knowledge and experience.

Safety nets are the industry recognised standard for this purpose and in this case were installed following the incident.”

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One Response to “CLIENT DIRECTOR PROSECUTED OVER ROOFLIGHT FATAL FALL”

  1. HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 11th JULY 2012 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] CLIENT DIRECTOR PROSECUTED OVER ROOFLIGHT FATAL FALL […]