A flooring retail company has been fined £300,000 after a self-employed contractor died after falling 4m through an asbestos cement roof panel.
In March 2019 Lukman Hakim had been appointed by Taylor Grange (Retail) Limited, trading as Floors Today, to carry out repair works to the fragile roof at the company’s showroom in Leicester.
Mr Hakim accessed the roof to check the progress of two workers when it gave way causing him to fall approximately 4m to the concrete floor of the showroom below.
Access on to the roof was provided by an unsecured and unfooted ladder which did not extend sufficiently to offer a handhold. Workers were then required to traverse the full width of the roof to carry out the repair work.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the client company failed to follow its own contractor selection procedures.
As a result, they appointed a contractor who did not have the skills, knowledge and experience required to plan and carry out the work using established control measures and safe working practices.
Consequently, all three men engaged in the work were exposed to a risk of falling a distance liable to cause personal injury while accessing the roof via the unsecured ladder or while walking across unprotected fragile roof panels.
People inside the building, including customers, were also at risk of being struck in the event of a person or object (such as a tool) falling through the roof.
Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard that Taylor Grange (Retail) Limited, formerly of Greenfield Crescent, Edgbaston, Birmingham, are now in liquidation and no longer operate. However, they were found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Regulation 8(3) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. They were fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,713.33 at a hearing on July 27 2022.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Linda-Jane Rigby, said: “This was an entirely preventable accident. The risks associated with work on fragile roofs are well known, as are the precautions. Despite this, every year workers continue to be seriously injured, or killed, because of falls off or through such roofs.
“Falls through fragile roof materials are not inevitable. They can be prevented by careful planning, using trained and experienced workers with suitable equipment and a level of supervision that reflects the risks.
“This incident could have been avoided had the client followed its own contractor selection procedures to ensure that the contractor they appointed had the skills, knowledge and experience required to plan and carry out the work safety using established control measures and safe working practices.”
Notes to Editors:
1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. We seek to prevent work-related death, injury and ill health through regulatory actions that range from influencing behaviours across whole industry sectors through to targeted interventions on individual businesses. These activities are supported by globally recognised scientific expertise. www.hse.gov.uk
2. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk
4. Further guidance related to working safety on fragile roofs can be found at – Fragile roofs: Safe working practices GEIS5 (hse.gov.uk) and Health and safety in roof work (hse.gov.uk) and Fragile roofs: What you need to know as a building owner, user or managing agent CIS (hse.gov.uk)