5 February 2014

Both the owner of a site and the main contractor it brought in to replace the roof on a chemical store faced heavy fines after a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the death of a self-employed scaffolder.

Michael Stone fell eight metres through a fragile roof right onto a concrete floor and died in hospital seven days later from the multiple injuries he suffered.

He had not been made aware of the nature of the roof lights and no signs or markings were evident to indicate the danger. The HSE investigation also found that Mr Stone and his employees were not requested to sign in to gain access to the roof and no-one at the site checked his risk assessment for the work.

The court was told that Mr Stone was contracting for specialist fabrication firm Dartmeet Services which was contracted to creamery owners Dairy Crest to replace the roof on the chemical store.

Dairy Crest Ltd was fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 costs for breaches of health and safety legislation; Dartmeet Services was fined £30,000 with £10,000 costs.

HSE Inspector Barry Trudgian said: "There should have been signs on the building indicating the presence of fragile roof lights and any work on the roof should have been subject to a thorough risk assessment and supervision. Simple, straightforward, commonsense procedures could have saved Mr Stone’s life."