Dad fell to his death working on roof

March 15, 2023

Company fined £120,000 after dad fell to his death working on roof

From our colleagues at Barbour EHS.

A company has been fined £120,000 after a man died following a fall from the roof of a building site.

Father-of-one Dennis Vincent, 36, and another worker were using ropes to install a lightning protection system to the front of a Warrington office block being converted into flats.

Mr Vincent, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was lowering the access equipment from the roof, using a rope attached to a frame at roof level and a handrail at ground level. As he did so, both he and the frame fell from the roof to the ground.

The incident happened on 24 February 2021 at Palmyra House, Palmyra Square in Warrington.

The HSE’s investigation found Mr Vincent’s employer, PTSG Electrical Services Limited, failed to adequately assess the risks associated with this work, giving little consideration to the work at height hierarchy of control and opting for personal protection measures over more suitable collective protection measures, such as scaffolding or a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP).

In addition to this, the company had not planned for getting the rope access equipment on to and off the roof safely, providing no instructions to the operatives.

PTSG Electrical Services Limited, of Flemming Court, Whistler Drive, Castleford, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £5,448.51 in costs at Wirral Magistrates’ Court.

HSE inspector Sara Andrews said: “Our thoughts today are with the family of Dennis Vincent, a young dad and husband who did not return home on 24 February 2021 because of the failings of his employer.

“This incident could easily have been avoided by better planning of the work to ensure adequate controls were in place to prevent falls from the roof. Whilst rope access techniques are appropriate in some circumstances, they should only be used if more appropriate measures, such as fixed scaffolding, cannot be.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

A further two companies will appear at Liverpool Crown Court later this year in relation to the incident, after pleading not guilty at an earlier hearing.

HSE
February 2023

Our Comments

Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. Common cases include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces. ‘Work at height’ means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury (for example a fall through a fragile roof). This unfortunate accident again proves the need to complete comprehensive risk assessments to ensure all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent falling.

Contact

At William Martin we have a nationwide team of experts who offer a comprehensive range of health and safety compliance services. As part of the Marlowe Software, Risk & Compliance division, William Martin also has access to a wider range of complementary services.

This content has been produced in association with our sister company, Barbour.

For all enquiries, please contact us or call our team on 0203 819 8829.

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