A suspended prison sentence for failing to prevent a tragic fall

In June 2009, a forty-four-year-old father was repairing the roof of a disused factory when it suddenly gave way. He fell six metres to the concrete floor beneath, smashing his skull and back. He died the same day.

When the HSE investigated the incident, they discovered that the man who had ordered the work to be carried out had failed to plan properly for the risks involved and had not provided supervision or safeguards.

He was subsequently prosecuted for breaching the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and received a twelve-month suspended sentence as well as being ordered to pay nearly £14,000 in compensation to the deceased man’s family and nearly £18,000 in court costs.

Working safely at height requires the appropriate health and safety training that allows workers to plan the work effectively and thus reduce the risk of accidents. A failure to do so can have devastating effects on those working in high-risk situations as well as their families.

Breaching the regulations can also have catastrophic results for those in charge of the work, too. The prosecution, prison sentences, substantial fines and a tainted reputation are all potential outcomes for businesses who ignore the risks.