Firm Fined After Man's Death

A family firm from Norfolk renting out business units has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), after a company director died after falling through a fragile roof at one of its properties.

Keith and Nigel Ragan, joint owners of Allenbrooks Developments Ltd, were replacing skylights in the roof of one their units at Fitzmaurice Court, Wymondham, Norfolk along with employee, Stephen Cullum, age 52.

While carrying out the installation on 6 April 2010, Keith Ragan fell10m through the corrugated asbestos cement sheet roof and the impact of the fall caused his death.

Although edge protection had been put in place along the roof, a safe working platform had not been installed, meaning the men had to walk along the horizontal beams of the roof. In addition to this, there were no safety nets or harness systems being used. 

The lack of a safe system of work and the failure to ensure the health, safety and welfare of Stephen Cullum while he was at work, led the HSE to prosecute the firm.

After the hearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court today, HSE Inspector Anthony Brookes said: “The death of Keith Ragan is a tragedy which has left a family without a loved one. It was only by chance the other two men did not fall through the roof as well.

“HSE would like to stress it is prosecuting the company because of the poor safety standards in place and the risk exposed to its employee at work.

“Working at height without any safety precautions in place is not acceptable. Falls from height are among the biggest causes of workplace deaths in the UK. Standards for working on fragile roofs are well-established and extensive guidance is available from HSE.”

Last year, more than 4,000 workers suffered major injuries as the result of falls from height and 12 lost their lives.

Allenbrooks Developments Ltd from Allenbrooks Way, Wymondham, Norfolk  pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc.Act 1974 and was fined £1500 and ordered to pay costs of £2320.