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Roofing company fined after worker’s death

Date:
9 March 2015

A Northamptonshire roofing firm has been sentenced for serious safety failings, which emerged when a worker died after falling through a rooflight.

Mark Cooper, 46, from Kettering, died three days after the incident at a commercial unit on the Earlstrees Industrial Estate in Corby on 11 June 2011.

Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard today (9 Mar) that Mr Cooper was working for JBS Roofing Ltd and had been instructed by the company to investigate a roof leak.

While he was replacing a rooflight, Mr Cooper fell six metres through the fragile surface on to a concrete floor below. He suffered a fractured skull and died in hospital on the 14 June 2011.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found control measures such as edge protection, coverings or fall protection over fragile rooflights, and safe access/egress from the roof, were all missing.

JBS Roofing Ltd had also failed to properly plan the roof refurbishment project and had not coordinated with the customer.

JBS Roofing Ltd of Rockingham Road, Kettering, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,987.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Samuel Russell said:

“Tragically, a worker died in what was a preventable incident. This case shows how important it is to have the correct safe systems of work in place for the entire duration of the project.

“It is not acceptable to use lesser standards in work methods or safety equipment in any situation, but especially when the work requires more permanent solutions for the longevity of the work.

“The company was experienced in the roofing industry and had undertaken more complex and difficult projects before. Its actions placed roofing workers at great risk.

“Working at height is still the biggest killer in the construction industry. HSE expects all stakeholders in the roofing industry to work to required standards to prevent further tragedies from happening.”

For further information and guidance on working at height, and specifically work on a roof, go to http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/roofwork.htm

Notes to editors

1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce 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. Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work at height is (a) properly planned; (b) appropriately supervised; and (c) carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe, and that its planning includes the selection of work equipment in accordance with regulation 7.”

3. HSE press releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk/

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