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Death of Handyman Sees Firm Fined for Their Negligence
Posted by David Cant on August 31, 2011

As discussed previously in this blog, deaths and injuries from height are the most common work place accidents in the United Kingdom.  Therefore it is shocking that more businesses are not doing everything in their power to cut down on these accidents by using health and safety services.

A Fall from a Step Ladder Ended in Tragic Death of Worker

Ovenpride Wholesalers were taken to court and prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive after one of their handymen fell from a step ladder while working on a job. Rocco Carofalo was working on some shelving at the Finchley Road bakery owned by Ovenpride.

Mr Carofalo was seen to be using tools at the time, but later he was found on the floor losing a significant amount of blood from his head injuries. The step ladder was on the floor beside him. Mr Carofalo died almost four weeks later in hospital as a result of his injuries.

The Equipment Was Removed and Prohibition Notice Handed Out

The scene of the accident was visited by two health inspectors working for the Health and Safety Executive.  They gave the owners of the Ovenpride bakery a Prohibition Notice which meant that none of their workers could work from height on their premises.  The decision behind the notice was that none of the equipment needed to work from height was safe to use.

Mr Carofalo’s step ladder was found to be of very poor quality and in a bad state.  The health inspectors removed the step ladder from the property to make sure no one used it in their absence. Ovenpride Wholesale was ordered to appear before the City of London Magistrates Court.  The Bakers pleaded guilty and were fined £1. Furthermore Amjad Mahmood pleaded guilty for breaching the Health and Safety Act and he was fined £300 and was also ordered to pay a total of £200 in costs.

There Are No Excuses for Preventable Accidents

Charles Linfoot, one of the Health and Safety Executive inspectors spoke after the hearing. He said that the accident was preventable and the risk of the fall could have been foreseen.  The managers of Ovenpride should have carried out a risk assessment and planned the work in advance to make sure it was performed in a safe manner.

All work from height needs to be carefully planned and managed.  Even small jobs which can be completed quickly should be assessed for their risks. Health and safety consultants are able to train managers on how to carry out risk assessments so that there are no excuses for not knowing what is needed to be done before the job is undertaken.

Planning and Risk Assessments Need to Be Part of Your Routine

Work at height needs to be carried out using the correct equipment which is in a suitable condition to be used.  Health and safety services can help you to be aware of what to look for when planning a job at height and to know the risks involved.  With proper management accidents from height can be prevented, and lives need not be lost.

If you are unsure of how to perform satisfactory risk assessments why not consider going on a training course.  Health and safety consultants are able to give you all the training you need to run a safe working environment for you, your employees and the public.  Call 0800 1488 677 for further information.


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.

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This post has been filed in: Workplace Health and Safety


  1. September 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Very sad to see, could be avoided with appropriate training.

  2. Graham D
    March 18, 2012 at 8:08 am

    In your article you state that the defendant was “taken to court and persecuted by the Health and Safety Executive” – I think perhaps auto-correct has played up and the word should be “prosecuted” not “persecuted”

    Cheers, Graham

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