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November 16, 2016

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Director given suspended sentence after fatal fall

A company director has been given a suspended prison sentence after a mechanic died when he fell through a roof light.

Terry Lewis, 64, was a retired mechanic working with his friend Leigh Bakewell on the roof of a building at Radnor Park Industrial Estate in Congleton in June 2013.

They were cleaning roof lights when Mr Lewis fell approximately 7 metres through a roof light to the workshop floor below and subsequently died.

Warrington Crown Court heard that an HSE investigation found that neither the roof or the roof lights were able to support the weight of a person.

The investigation also found that Leigh Bakewell, who was primarily a gardener, not a roofer, did not take precautions to prevent a fall through the roof or off the the edge. He did not have the necessary knowledge or competence to carry out the work.

The company, Roman Lodge Asset Management Limited, failed to have adequate systems in place to ensure a competent roofer was appointed. The company director, Jonathan Marshall, failed to adequately plan and supervise the work, due to their own lack of understanding of standards and the law relating to work on fragile roofs.

Roman Lodge Asset Management Ltd, of Dane Mill, Broadhurst Lane, Congleton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) and Regulation 5 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and were fined £20,000 with £8,010.00 costs.

Its director, Jonathan Marshall pleaded guilty to breaching two counts of Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to four months imprisonment on each count (suspended for 12 months) and was ordered to pay £8,010.00 costs.

At a hearing on 18 August 2016, Leigh Bakewell pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. He was sentenced to six months imprisonment (suspended for 12 months) and was ordered to pay £8,610.47 costs.

Warren Pennington, the HSE inspector for the case, said: “This is an incredibly sad case all round. Each defendant knew that the roof was fragile and each accepted unsafe working practices.  Terry Lewis was only on the roof in order to help out his best friend.

“If Roman Lodge and Jonathan Marshall had asked questions about Leigh Bakewell’s experience and knowledge (of roof work standards), they would not have employed him.  Leigh Bakewell should have recognised he was not competent and should not have carried out the work. With these simple considerations, Mr Lewis would not have been on the roof and would not have died in the way he did.”

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Duncan Brown
Duncan Brown
7 years ago

The impact of a serious accident on a company director is very interesting as we explored in this video http://www.outtakes.co.uk/cat/22/film/125/4-The-Call

Jane Puncher
Jane Puncher
7 years ago

This case demonstrates that the sentences given for causing a death at work are still not harsh enough! One man’s life equals £20,000 + £24,630.47 in costs with 2 suspended prison sentences of 4 and 6 months each! OK so the fines are individual as well as against the company but this man has lost his life, surely both men should have lost some of their lives as a result of this?