The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has successfully prosecuted the owner of an animal crematorium after a self-employed man fell to his death through a fragile roof.
The case which was heard at Exeter Crown Court, detailed how the worker assisted by a crematorium employee, had not received any training for working safely at heights or provided with any protective equipment such as harnesses or crawler boards.
Despite a sign stating “Danger – fragile roof” the two men were permitted access to the roof.
The 49 year old man from Christow, Devon fell through the roof while attempting to fix some holes. He fell and hit a wooden pallet which was held in place by a fork lift truck. The court heard that the purpose of the pallet was to break any potential fall. However, the HSE reported that this was an inadequate precaution as it was a metre below the roof level.
The court fined the owner of the firm after pleading guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) and Section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. She was fined a total of £45,000 and ordered to pay £8180 in costs.
After the case was heard, Helena Allum of the HSE said:
“Falls from height are one of the most common causes of fatalities at work and yet simple procedures and planning could save many lives.”
For further information on working safely at heights click here.