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MASSSIVE FINE IMPOSED FOLLOWING ROOF OPENING DEATH

Principal contractor to pay over £1/2m following trial over death of worker

Watkin Jones & Son Ltd has been ordered to pay a total of £548,000 after a worker fell through a roof while working on the construction of the Menai Centre in Bangor, Wales.

Thomas Whitmarsh, 21, of Batley in West Yorkshire, was employed by a roofing contractor working for principal contractor, Watkin Jones & Son Ltd, on the roof of the shopping centre on 29 May 2007 when he fell some 6m through an unguarded opening in the roof to the floor below.

He sustained serious head injuries and spent several months in hospital. However, during recovery he contracted acute meningitis and died on 17 December 2009. Evidence presented to Mold Crown Court included a pathologist’s findings that there was more than an 80 per cent chance that the injuries from the fall contributed to his death.

The court heard (4 Oct 2012) that edge protection around the opening in the roof had been removed prior to the incident yet no alternative means to protect against falls was provided.

Poor co-ordination between the principal and the roofing contractors

Watkin Jones & Son Ltd of Bangor, was found guilty of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £450,000 and ordered to pay £98,000 in costs.

Following the hearing, HSE inspector Chris Wilcox said:

“Poor co-ordination between the principal contractor and the roofing contractors on this particular part of the site led to the edge protection being removed from around the roof opening without alternative safeguards in place.

Falls from height are an alarmingly common cause of death and serious injury in construction. All too often straightforward practical precautions are not considered and workers are put needlessly at risk. Poor management of risk in this industry is unacceptable and HSE will take strong action when necessary.

This tragic case should remind all contractors that work at height must be managed effectively and adequate safeguards should be in place to prevent falls.”

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2 Responses to “MASSSIVE FINE IMPOSED FOLLOWING ROOF OPENING DEATH”

  1. Watkin Jones & Son’s £450k fine over worker’s roof fall – BBC News | BLE Says:

    […] could do their work. Judge Parry said Watkin Jones and Son instructed two labourers …MASSSIVE FINE IMPOSED FOLLOWING ROOF OPENING DEATHConstruction Health and Safety Newsall 8 news […]

  2. APPEAL BY BUILDER FAILS TO OVERTURN HUGE FINE | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Crown Court found that the fall resulted from a “serious breakdown in the chain of command” after the […]