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Lancashire Warehouse Roof Death Lands Builder and Toy Firm in Court

Apr 1, 2015

Warehouse Safety Coventry

A Lancashire-based toy distributor and a builder have been sentenced after a worker plunged to his death through a warehouse roof.  A 39 year old male, from Fleetwood, had been working to clear debris from the roof when he unfortunately fell in July 2012. Both the company and builder were both prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in March 2015, after an investigation found no safety measures had been put in place to make sure the work could be carried out safely.

Preston Crown Court heard debris had been washing down the roof and into the gutters, causing them to overflow into the warehouse below. The company who hired the builder, for the roof cleaning work to be done,  did not carry out any checks to make sure he was competent. The workers climbed onto the roof, which covers 36,000 square feet, without any preparation work or planning having taken place in advance. They failed to use harnesses or any other equipment to keep them safe.

The men were four days into the project when the unfortunate accident occurred. The deceased stood on one of the clear panels, designed to let in light, which gave way sending him nine metres to the concrete floor below. He died at the scene. This was an accident that could have easily have been prevented had the company who operated the property undertook proper checks to employ a competent contractor to carry out the work and if the builder had been skilled and experienced in working safely at height. Large fines and a suspended prison sentence were awarded to those responsible for this tragic occurrence.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Allen Shute said that the deceased ‘…should never have been allowed onto the warehouse roof without being given suitable training and equipment’ but both his employer and the owner of the premises failed to ensure his safety.
It is of vital importance to ensure that you use competent contractors to carry out works. They need to be skilled, trained experienced and supervised.
Sadly incidents of workers falling through warehouse roofs are all too common, and it’s vital firms do more to make sure this kind of work is carried out safely and by competent people.