The death of a worker who fell through a fragile roof-light has been described as “entirely preventable.” Barry Tyson, 52, was working to refurbish the flat roof of Aspin Park School in Knaresborough when the incident happened on 16 August 2011. He suffered fatal head injuries from which he later died in hospital.
Investigating, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that Watershed (Roofing) Ltd, a framework contractor for North Yorkshire County Council, had failed to install control measures for working with roof lights. The company was fined for safety failings.
Bradford Crown Court heard how Watershed had prepared a construction phase plan. It stated that before work was carried out, the plastic domes of all roof-lights needed to be removed and the apertures boarded over to prevent falls from height. However, when roofers accessed the roof it was found that the domes could not be easily removed.
Director Steven John Derham decided that works could progress without any covering of the roof-lights. Watershed (Roofing) Limited of Thornton Road in Bradford pleaded guilty to breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £39,381.32 in costs.
Mr Derham, 47, of Winterton Drive, Low Moor in Bradford pleaded guilty in his role as director of the company to a breach of section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £7,000.
Falls from height
The dangers of working at height are well documented, as are the risks of falling through fragile materials. However, accidents of this nature are still a common occurrence. Mr Tyson, a self-employed bricklayer, fell backwards through the roof-light and into the boys’ toilet two metres below. He was taken to hospital by air ambulance but later died.
The HSE said that his death could have been prevented had the company installed the relevant control measures. It added that Watershed and Mr Derham knew that such protection measures must be put in place before workers are put at risk, yet still allowed work to continue without anything to prevent or mitigate falls.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: July 17, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown