Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
February 13, 2017

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Prison for building Contractor after worker’s fatal fall

A Manchester building contractor has been jailed following the death of a casual labourer who fell nearly seven metres through a fragile roof.

The 45-year-old labourer from Manchester had been carrying out repair work at Witney Mill, Manchester when the incident occurred on 23 November 2013.

Saleem Hussain had been engaged by the warehouse owner, who believed him to be a competent building contractor, to carry out repair and maintenance work on the warehouse roof. He then hired two people to do the work.

Mr Hussain’s failure to take any such actions resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that both workers were not qualified to carry out work at height. They had accessed the roof via a ladder in order to repair and seal leaking guttering. No safety precautions were in place to protect the two men from the danger of falling through the fragile roof.

Other articles about falls from height:

Three construction companies fined after worker fall

Muller UK fined £400k after worker’s fragile roof fall

Self-employed builder fined after worker falls through roof


Manchester Crown Court heard that Mr Hussain failed to assess the risks or put a safe working method in place. No suitable training or equipment to work on the roof had been provided.

Saleem Hussain of Birchfields Road, Manchester pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to 8 months immediate imprisonment.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Mike Sebastian said:”The dangers of falls through fragile roofs and working at height are well known. Simple steps such as removing the need to access the roof directly by using mobile working platforms, or boarding out the roof, or using safety harnesses, can and should be used to prevent accident and injury.

“Mr Hussain’s failure to take any such actions resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life”.

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Related Topics

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
M Cowan
M Cowan
7 years ago

The 8 month sentence is too lenient – should be more like 2 years. He should also be banned from being a director for 5 years. A salutary lesson to other contractors failing to carry out a basic H and S risk assessment.

Andrew Floyd
Andrew Floyd
7 years ago

On what grounds did the building owner believe his building contractor was “competent”?

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp
7 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Floyd

Excellent point Andrew and my thoughts exactly. The CDM Regs 8.- (1) require a contractor to be competent and the client to ensure they are. The client may not be an expert in construction but surely some basic checks would have sufficed. Is ignorance now a defence in law?

D. Beacham
D. Beacham
7 years ago

At the end of the day a man has lost his life at work. Under the circumstances the sentence is not appropriate as this is a case of quick profit for minimal outlay. Also why has no action been recorded/taken against the client who has a clear duty under the CDM Regs to hire a ‘competent’ contractor to carry out the work, one way of proving this would be to ask for suitable and sufficient RAMS for the work prior to awarding the contract.

Ray Rapp
Ray Rapp
7 years ago
Reply to  D. Beacham

Even better would have been to ask what previous jobs the company had undertaken, references and industry accreditations – not difficult really. The client is as guilty as the offender in my opinion. It’s a bit like prosecuting only the thief and letting off those who received stolen goods.