A Northamptonshire roofing firm has been handed more than £15,000 of fines for serious safety failings after a worker died falling through a rooflight.
Experienced roofer Mark Cooper, 46, from Kettering, passed away three days after the accident at a commercial unit on the Earlstrees Industrial Estate in Corby on June 11, 2011.
Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday that Mr Cooper was working for JBS Roofing Ltd and had been instructed by the company to investigate a roof leak.
Though he was told to investigate the problem from the ground only, Mr Cooper had decided to replace a rooflight while he was at the premises.
While on the roof of the building, Mr Cooper fell six metres through a fragile surface to the concrete floor below.
He suffered a fractured skull and died in hospital on June 14, 2011.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found control measures such as fall protection over fragile rooflights, and safe access from the roof, were all missing.
JBS Roofing Ltd had also failed to properly plan the roof refurbishment project and had not coordinated with the customer.
The firm, of Rockingham Road, Kettering, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Yesterday it was fined £10,000, ordered to pay costs of £4,987 and was handed a £1,000 victim surcharge.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Samuel Russell said: “Tragically, a worker died in what was a preventable incident.
“This case shows how important it is to have the correct safe systems of work in place for the entire duration of the project.
“It is not acceptable to use lesser standards in work methods or safety equipment in any situation, but especially when the work requires more permanent solutions for the longevity of the work.
“The company was experienced in the roofing industry and had undertaken more complex and difficult projects before. Its actions placed roofing workers at great risk.
“Working at height is still the biggest killer in the construction industry. HSE expects all stakeholders in the roofing industry to work to required standards to prevent further tragedies from happening.”
For further information and guidance on working at height, and specifically work on a roof, go to http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/roofwork.htm