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March 23, 2021

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Fines for corporate manslaughter and multiple health and safety offences

Ballymena based firm H and M Engineering and Roofing Specialists (NI) Limited has been prosecuted for multiple work-related offences relating to the death of one of their employees.

The company earlier pleaded guilty to five health and safety offences and a separate offence of corporate manslaughter and was fined £75,000.

The charges arose as a result of an HSENI investigation into an incident which took place on 3 December 2016 which led to the death of Mr Hugh Thomas Jack, aged 59, an employee of the company.

The incident occurred at industrial premises in Carryduff where Mr Jack fell through an unsecured section of a roof. The work being undertaken at the time of the incident involved the over-cladding of an existing roof structure with new sheeting.

The HSENI investigation revealed that the company had failed to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees. The roof work had not been properly planned and safety measures had not been put in place.

Neither fall prevention measures including edge protection, nor measures to minimise the distance or consequences of a fall such as safety nets were present on site at the time of the incident.

The company also failed to report the incident as a work-related death to HSENI.

Head of HSENI’s Major Investigation Team, Kyle Carrick stated: “Falls from height remain the single biggest cause of workplace fatalities and serious injuries in Northern Ireland.

“This case, which has resulted in a tragic loss of life, is one example where an early assessment of the risks would have quickly identified the safe working practices needed to ensure the safety of workers.

“I would urge everyone undertaking roof work, or working at height, to make sure they have taken the time to carry out a risk assessment to identify the dangers involved and make appropriate plans to control any risk. Where necessary they should seek competent advice before beginning any job.”

Breaches and fines for H and M Engineering and Roofing Specialists (NI) Ltd were as follows:

  1. Article 4(1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, fine £5,000.
  2. Regulation 3(1)(a) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (NI) 2000, fine £5,000.
  3. Regulation 4(1) of The Work at Height Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005, fine £5,000.
  4. Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005, fine £5,000.
  5. Regulation 3(1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997, fine £5,000.
  6. Section 1(1) of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, fine £50,000.

Barbour download: Guide to working at height

Work at any height can cause injury; a fall from a height of just one or two steps can cause serious injury.

The Regulations were amended in 2007 to extend their application to those who work at height providing instruction or leadership to one or more people engaged in caving or climbing by way of sport, recreation, team building or similar activities in Great Britain.

Download your free guide from Barbour to understand: Duties of persons in control of work at height; Duties of persons undertaking work at height; General controls when working at height; Method statement for work at height; Selection of a means of access; Working platforms; Guardrails and toeboards; Ladders Mobile work platforms; Suspended access equipment; Personal suspension equipment and, Inspection of fall arrest equipment.

Barbour EHS

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