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Written by
on 07 January 2013


Working at Height

A father of five was tragically killed in an incident at work in October 2009. Kevin Jackson fell eight metres to the floor after he fell through a roof light while cleaning guttering.  As a result of the following HSE investigation two firms and a company director were charged and ordered to appear in court where they were each fined.

Mr Jackson suffered many injuries to his internal organs, multiple skull fractures, broken ribs and damage to his lungs. He sadly died in hospital on the same day of the accident. He had been hired by the director Shaun Cavil and Cavills to work on the roof of the Garthwest factory. Although he was hired to clean the gutters he was not given any safety equipment and there wasn’t any safety measures in place that would have made the job safer by reducing the risks.  Mr Jackson was not given any form of training to work safely at height either.

Numerous Failings were Discovered by the HSE

After the incident both companies were given Prohibition Notices by the Health and Safety Executive. There were many serious failings that put all workers at risk which included:

  • No workplace risk assessment
  • No control measures that could have been used to reduce the distance of the fall
  • No edge protection
  • No boards or staging to stop any worker standing on fragile areas of the roof, such as the roof light
  • A lack of instructions on how to perform the job safely

Garthwest, the owners of the factory where the incident happened were fined £50,000 and must pay £19,300 in court costs. Cavill Property Maintenance was fined £65,000. Both of the firms pleaded guilty to breaching the same section of the Health and Safety at Work Act, Section 3(1).  The director of Cavill, Shaun Cavill was fined £25,000 after he admitted breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. This is because of the negligence on his part as a director.

How is Your Health and Safety?

The two companies and the director could have stopped the death of Mr Jackson could have been avoided if they had followed the Regulations and health and safety methods used to reduce risks. Safe practices were needed along with equipment, training and the application of control measures.

If you are found to be breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act after an incident or because of an inspection you could be prosecuted. Avoid this by learning the law, hiring competent employees or hiring a competent person to help manage your health and safety.

You can use the health and safety services that are provided by consultants to protect your employees, your company and the public. Call 0800 1488 677 to speak to health and safety consultants for help and advice.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.