Tragic Fall From Height Results In The Death Of Roofing Eployee, Asons Solicitors Comment

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According to the HSE, a Milton Keynes-based roofing company has been fined for safety failings, after an employee fell to his death, as a result of using an unsuitable and poorly maintained ladder. (1)

Thomas Rowe, 56, from Crownhill, was in the process of conducting roofing repairs on a two-storey property, on the 14th January 2012, when he fell almost five metres to the ground below, sustaining a fatal head injury. (1)

He was working for Milton Keynes Roofing Ltd, who were prosecuted on the 20th November 2013, by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE,) after an investigation revealed serious failings in the equipment used to conduct the task. (1)

Aylesbury Crown Court heard that Mr Rowe, a self-employed roofer, was regularly sub-contracted to the firm. At the time of his accident, he was working at the rear of a home, installing weatherproof eaves protectors to a property on Hodder Lane. (1)

Mr Rowe accessed the roofline using a two-part extension ladder, which was footed by Milton Keynes Roofing’s company director, who was also a close family friend of Mr Rowe. (1)

The exact circumstances which led to the fall are unclear, but it is evident that he slipped after he failed to maintain safe contact to the building, with his ladder. (1)

Following the fatality, the Thames Valley Police brought the circumstances to the HSE’s attention. During the investigation, the HSE discovered that the choice of equipment used was inappropriate, and that a Mr Rowe should have been working from a more rigid system, such as a tower scaffold. (1)

Inspectors also found that the ladder used, had damaged rungs, and a missing footer, confirming it was unsuitable. (1)

Commenting on the incident, Thomas Fairclough, Asons Executive, stated that;

Falls at work are the most common cause of roofing industry workplace deaths. Unfortunately, this accident was fatal, Mr. Rowe’s suffering could have been prevented, had the correct equipment been provided, and the appropriate health and safety procedures had been implemented.”

Milton Keynes Roofing Ltd, of Laurel Close, Milton Keynes, was fined a total of £11,672, after pleading guilty to two separate breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. (1) (HS21113)

The judge ruled, that the fine he imposed reflected the company’s limited capability to pay, not the seriousness of the health and safety failing, or the severity of the injuries sustained. (1)

After the hearing, HSE Inspector John Berezansky said:

“All work at height has to be properly planned, and managed, and there were clear failings with the equipment used by Milton Keynes Roofing Ltd.

“Even short duration tasks need planning, and foresight, and it is evident, that had more appropriate equipment been provided, then Mr Rowe’s tragic death could have been avoided.

“We were unable to find a direct link between the state of the ladder and his fall, but I also hope this case underlines the need to ensure that work equipment is properly maintained, and fit for purpose.”

According to the HSE, between 2011/12, 40 workers were killed, and more than 3,400 were seriously injured, in falls from height. (2)

If you, or someone you know, have suffered, then you may be able to make a fall at work claim. Asons Solicitors deal with roofing related personal injury claims, COPD, and vibration white finger, you can contact them on: 01204 521 133 or you can fill out their claim form at http://www.asons.co.uk

(1)    Roofing firm fined for ladder fall death - http://press.hse.gov.uk/2013/roofing-firm-fined-for-ladder-fall-death/ - HSE October 2013
(2)    Falls from height in the workplace - http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/index.htm - HSE October 2013

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About Asons Solicitors:

Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

For further information contact:
Email: info(at)asons(dot)co(dot)uk
Website: http://www.asons.co.uk

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Imran Akram
Asons Solicitors

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