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Worker died after fall through roof light

Date:
30 January 2014

A scaffolder died when he fell eight metres through a fragile roof light while working on top of a chemical store at a creamery in Cornwall.

Two companies were today sentenced over the incident at Dairy Crest premises at Davidstow near Camelford on 4 November, 2008.

Truro Crown Court heard today that Michael Stone, 44, of Hartley, Plymouth, was erecting a scaffold at the premises when the incident happened.

The court heard self-employed Mr Stone was contracting for specialist fabrication firm Dartmeet Services which was contracted to creamery owners Dairy Crest to replace the roof on the chemical store.

The building had fragile rooflights but Mr Stone had not been made aware of this and no signs or markings were evident to indicate the danger. The HSE investigation found Mr Stone and his employees were not requested to sign in to gain access to the roof and no-one at the site checked his risk assessment for the work.

Mr Stone landed on a concrete floor when he fell, suffering multiple injuries. He died in hospital seven days later.

Dairy Crest Ltd was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs for breaches of health and safety legislation in the case brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The other defendant also in court for sentencing was the main contractor, Dartmeet Services, were fined £30,000 with £10,000 costs.

HSE Inspector, Barry Trudgian, said:

“This is yet another tragic fatality caused by working on a roof with fragile rooflights where the risks are well known. In this case, no-one involved took proper control to make Mr Stone aware of the issue.

“There should have been signs on the building indicating the presence of fragile rooflights and any work on the roof should have been subject to a thorough risk assessment and supervision.

“Simple, straightforward, commonsense procedures could have saved Mr Stone’s life.”

Dartmeet Services Ltd of Union Street, Newton Abbot, Devon pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Dairy Crest Ltd of Esher, Surrey pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 9(3) (a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Further information on working near rooflights can be found on the HSE website at:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis5.htm

Notes to Editors:

1.  The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk

2.  Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states:  It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

3.  The Work at Height Regulations 2005 Regulation 4 states: that every employer shall ensure that work at height is properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a manner which is safe, so far as is reasonably practicable.

4. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 Regulation 9(3)(a) states that where any person at work may pass across or near, or work on, from or near, a fragile surface, every employer shall ensure that prominent warning notices are so far as is reasonably practicable affixed at the approach to the place where the fragile surface is situated.   5. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.

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