A roofer faces having to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life after being paralysed in a serious fall at work, a court has been told.
Liverpool Crown Court heard 50-year-old Michael Riley fell from a ladder at a property in Southport while carrying a bag of building materials.
Liverpool building company W Carroll & Sons Ltd, which hired the subcontractor, was fined £105,000 and ordered to pay £64,600 in costs after admitting it breached the Health and Safety at Work Act.
The firm, of Delamore Street in Walton, was using around 20 subcontractors to replace the roofs of more than 300 properties in Southport and Maghull when the accident happened in January 2011.
The court heard a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation carried out after the accident at work found that subcontractors were carrying heavy bags on their shoulders as they climbed down ladders at the properties.
Roofer lost balance
When he lost his balance and fell Mr Riley, of Skelmersdale, was carrying a 10kg bag of cement sheets containing asbestos over his shoulder so only had one hand on the ladder, said the HSE which prosecuted the building firm.
Because the sheets contained asbestos they could not be disposed of down a chute leading to a skip on the ground and had to be removed separately.
Mr Riley had fallen backwards several metres and hit the back of a truck parked next to the scaffolding before falling to the ground, the court heard. He suffered major internal injuries and now has almost no movement below his neck and will have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
The HSE said the building firm had failed to provide a risk assessment for the work or equipment that would have enabled the materials to be lowered safely to the ground.
And it said its investigation had found that lives had continued to be put at risk following Mr Riley’s accident by the company failing to change its system for removing asbestos waste.
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