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Last updated: 03.03.17

Contractor jailed after roof accident

A Manchester contractor has been imprisoned following a fatal accident at a warehouse involving somebody falling through a roof.

Safety at work is vitally important in every job, but when working at height is involved it can become a matter of life and death. Falling is one of the most common causes of injury in the workplace, and in some cases it can be fatal. This was the case recently in Manchester, when a labourer fell through a roof.

The incident occurred at a warehouse in Witney Mill, which is near Manchester. The owner of the building had engaged Saleem Hussain as a contractor in order to carry out repairs and maintenance on the roof. Mr Hussain had in turn employed two labourers to conduct the work.

One of these, a 45-year-old man from Manchester, had climbed a ladder in order to seal some leaking guttering. Sadly, the roof was fragile and the labourer fell through, hitting the ground almost seven metres below. This accident was fatal.

Manchester Crown Court found that this accident could easily have been prevented with appropriate safety procedures. The workers could have benefitted from safety harnesses or boarding out the roof, for example, which would have made the fall much less likely. A mobile platform could also have been used to avoid the need to directly access the roof.

Mike Sebastian of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said: "The dangers of falls through fragile roofs and working at height are well known. Simple steps can and should be used to prevent accident and injury."

While working at height is a major part of many construction and repair jobs, it is not always clear what the correct procedures should be. What might seem like common sense is often not industry best practice, and failure to abide by current legislation can lead to injuries and sometimes deaths.

Virtual College offers many courses that can help in this regard, such as our Introduction to Working at Height. This will provide individuals and organisations with the knowledge they need to keep people safe at work, preventing tragic occurrences.


Health and Safety Executive