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FIRM GIVEN TIME TO PAY LARGE FINE IN TRANCHES

Young worker died during ‘bombing’ of material from scaffold

Rooftop Rooms Ltd of Enfield has been fined £325,00 at Snaresbrook Crown Court after failing to ensure the safety of 16 year-old labourer Alfie Perrin who fell whilst “bombing” rubbish from a scaffold in North London on 14 November 2012. Prosecution costs of almost £20,000 were also imposed.

The death was investigated by officers from the Metropolitan Police Homicide and Major Crime Command together with HSE. An employee of the company was found not guilty of manslaughter at the same court on 31 March  2015.

The Crown established that Alfie had been instructed to clear rubbish and timber off-cuts from the rear roof area of the two storey house. He did this by transferring them over the flat roof of the dormer extension and down the pitched roof at the front of the house, from where he was told to throw the material into the skip on the ground.

There was no edge protection around the flat dormer roof and the scaffold platform had a large gap at one end where a ladder should have been fitted or scaffold poles used to reduce the risk of falls. Neither a ladder nor scaffold poles were in place.

Alfie fell to his death after throwing a bag of rubble from the scaffold platform into the skip.

Previous complaints of “bombing”

Rooftop Rooms Ltd pleaded guilty to failure to discharge a duty imposed by Section 2(1) and Section 33(1)(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The company also pleaded guilty to failing to conduct the loft conversion in Camden Road in such a way as to ensure that person not in its employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The Ilford Recorder reports that Judge Martin Zeidman QC ordered the company to pay £100,000 by December 31, £100,000 by December 31 2016 and the balance by December 31 2017. He is reported to have added:

“I regard it as a significant aggravating factor that there has been previous complaints of bombing – the fact it didn’t lead to conviction doesn’t dilute the significance of the point – knowing that it happened, management should have taken steps to make sure it was not repeated. The message is this – those who employ young people have a duty to ensure particular care to deal with youngsters.”

They may be anxious to please and it may make them less able to assess risk. They may find it hard to refuse to take on a dangerous activity – no young person wants to appear a wimp and so they shouldn’t be put in that position.”

The judge said he “entirely rejected” the defence that the incident followed a “remote” case of bombing.

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