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Fine for Roofing Contractor After Fatal Fall

21st October 2022

A North West based roofing contractor was fined in early September following a 2021 incident that saw an employee suffer a fatal ladder fall.

The incident occurred in Burnley during roof replacement work at a domestic property. The victim was in the process of climbing a triple extending access ladder on the roof carrying a pile of slate, in order to reach scaffolding in place at eaves level, when they slipped and fell to the ground, sadly sustaining fatal injuries.

Following an investigation by the Health and Safety executive (HSE) it was determined that the interlocking sections of the ladder the employee had been climbing did not maintain the required three points of contact, particularly when loads were carried. The HSE specified that a single pole access ladder would have allowed for this.

The investigation also found that the employee was wearing unsuitable footwear that did not allow a firm foothold on the ladder. Additionally, there were no safe means in place for transporting the materials to the roof (i.e. a gin wheel and bucket) which would have avoided the need to carry loads via the ladder. Furthermore, the roofing contractor in question was also found to not have employer’s liability insurance in place, which is a statutory requirement.

The roofing contract pleaded guilty at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Section 1(1) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. The Court sentenced the contractor to six months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay costs of £3,600.

Just a number of small adjustments in this case could have avoided the tragic outcome. Falls from height remain the one of the top causes of fatalities in the workplace and although incidents have decreased in recent decades, it is critical that projects that require work at height are carried out by trained and qualified professionals.

Speak to the SIMIAN team today to find out more about our scaffolding training and consultancy services on 0345 602 2418 or email