14-12-04 SiteAs published on the HSE website…

After a worker fell 7 metres to death on a site in Staffordshire, a developer, scaffolding company, its director and a roofer have been found guilty and sentenced at Stafford Crown Court.

In December 2010, roofer Phillip Lonergan was installing the roof on a new warehouse being built by E2 Developments Ltd in Fauld, Tutbury.  Standing on the edge of the roof, he slipped and fell through a gap of more than 500mm between two scaffolding rails erected to form temporary edge protection.  Lonergan, died in hospital the same day from head injuries.

The HSE investigated and found that the edge protection had been provided by Nottinghamshire-based Albion Tower and Scaffold Ltd.  Their company director had no formal qualifications as a scaffolder, had overall control of the design, planning and construction of the edge protection and personally signed it off as being safe.  The HSE’s investigation also found E2 Developments was not aware of the CDM Regulations 2007 which required the company, as the client, to notify HSE of the work and appoint a competent scheme co-ordinator and principal contractor.

The developer pleaded guilty to breaching the CDM Regulations (14(1), 14(2) and 22) and was fined a total of £66,000 and costs.  Peter Allum admitted breaching s3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £1,500 and costs.  Lee Cotterill pleaded guilty to breaching s3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and was sentenced to 3 months in prison, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay costs.  Albion Tower and Scaffold was fined £53,000 and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to the same offence.

The HSE stated:

“…each defendant failed to ensure Mr Lonergan and other roofers could work safely.  In each case their failure was a significant cause of Mr Lonergan’s death.

Learning

More than 1/5th of all construction deaths are caused by falls from or through roofs.

Check the HSE guidance on preventing falls from height.