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LOFT CONVERSION FIRM FINED FOLLOWING FATALITY

Workman ‘catapulted’ to his death over the scaffold handrail

Newhey Loft Conversions Limited has been prosecuted after employee Graham Readfern (aged 56) died when he fell from the roof of a partly completed loft conversion project in January 2012. HSE investigation revealed that scaffolding used to protect workers from a fall while carrying out roof work was not sufficient.

Manchester Crown Court heard that the firm was contracted to carry out a large loft conversion on a property in Manchester. Mr Readfern had fallen from the roof of the dormer conversion but was not ‘caught’ by the scaffolding which was not high enough to stop someone falling 5m to the ground below.

Mr Readfern was carrying a roll of roof felt onto the newly built dormer window when the ladder he was using collapsed and he was catapulted over the scaffold handrail into a neighbouring garden. He died of his injuries 17 days later.

Simple lack of thought cost a man his life

Newhey Loft Conversions Limited pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 towards the cost of the prosecution.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Matt Greenly said:

“This was a large loft conversion job which required the company to increase the height of the original roof to fit dormer windows, although the scaffolding was adequate for the start of the works, once the new and much higher dormer windows were built by Newhey, they should have increased the height of the scaffolding.

This simple lack of attention to the progress of the works led to Mr Readfern working outside of the safety provided by the original scaffold and sadly suffering a fall which resulted in his death.

It is clear that had Newhey simply raised the scaffold height, at a cost of only a few hundred pounds, Mr Readfern would never have suffered a fall of this scale and would more than likely still be with his family and friends to this day.

This simple lack of thought has cost a man his life and a family their father, husband, granddad and friend.

Falls from height are a major cause of serious and fatal injuries in the construction industry so it’s vital firms take the risks seriously. Proper planning is key to ensuring these well-known risks are well-managed.”

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