Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

July 1, 2016

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Avoidable death occurred due to “series of safety errors”

Two companies based in Northamptonshire have been fined after a worker died following a fall through a roof.

Peter Smith, 58, died while working on a contract to replace the old asbestos roof of the Virani Foods factory in Stewarts Road Wellingborough, on 9 August 2013. He fell eight metres through a fragile skylight and died at the scene.

Northampton Crown Court heard that Mr Smith was an employee of A-Lift Crane Hire Limited, who had been hired by Premier Roofing Systems Limited to provide them with a crane to lift roofing sheets onto the factory roof.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that preventative measures to allow operatives to work safely on the roof were not put in place. The investigation revealed that a set of Yeoman boards needed to create a safe working platform on the roof were not installed prior to the job commencing.

Prosecuting Adam Farrer, said: “The death was completely avoidable and occurred due to a series of safety errors by the defendants.”

Premier Roofing Systems Limited, of Unit G, The Grove, Corby Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £140,250 and ordered to pay costs of £41,428.

A-Lift Crane Hire Limited, of Main Road, Wilby Northamptonshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £83,300 and ordered to pay costs of £21,500.

Judge Rupert Mayo, sentencing, said: “It is immediately apparent there was a muddle as to ensuring he appropriate equipment, training and instructions were provided to Mr Smith.

“Premier knew the access tower had not been handed over and the Yeoman boards ordered by them would not be on site.

“A-Lift should have scoped this properly when (a supervisor) visited the site on 7 August.

“In simple terms, no employee should have been allowed up there until the Yeoman boards were available.”

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