Fatal fall through rooflight kills father-of-two

Grant Prior 12 years ago

A father-of-two died after falling through a rooflight and sustaining fatal head injuries during a refurbishment job in Bournemouth.

Two firms and a company director have been prosecuted after Carl Pearson fell six metres while working on a building on Wharfdale Road in Bournemouth on 1 December 2007. He died the following day.

The 42-year-old from Christchurch had been contracted by a Bournemouth-based cladding refurbishment company, Cladcoat UK Ltd, to replace damaged rooflights, as part of remedial works on the building.

Southampton Crown Court heard Cladcoat had brought in Pearson to carry out this part of the work, as it did not have the necessary expertise.

Cladcoat had itself been contracted to carry out the roof work, as well as some external steel cladding work, by Bridport company TRN Electrical Ltd, which had obtained the original contract for the project.

An HSE investigation found that Pearson was carrying out work on a fragile roof with no means of fall prevention, or fall mitigation, in place.

TRN Electrical Ltd, of Cold Harbour Business park, Sherbourne, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £30,000, plus costs of £14,850. Cladcoat UK Ltd, of The Stables, Longham Business Centre, 168 Ringwood Road, Longham, also pleaded guilty  and was fined £10,000, with no costs.

Jeremy Walton, Director of Cladcoat Ltd, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was given a conditional discharge.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Frank Flannery said: “This was a wholly preventable incident in which a man in his prime – a father-of-two – lost his life. This incident was not the result of the actions of an individual; rather it is the result of collective failures.

“Had a suitable risk assessment been undertaken, for risks that were known to all parties, and a safe system of work established, this tragic incident would not have happened.

“The two companies involved, whilst being aware of the risks, did not fully understand their duties and responsibilities under the law.

“Whilst I welcome today’s outcome, the fact remains that a man has unnecessarily lost his life.

“I hope that other companies can learn from this, and appreciate the high risk involved with work at height on fragile roofs. As this case shows, being aware of the risk is not enough to prevent it from happening.”

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