Father-of-one Dennis Vincent, aged 36, and another worker were using ropes to install a lightning protection system to the front of a Warrington office block being converted into flats.
On 24 February 2021 in Warrington, Mr Vincent, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, was lowering the access equipment from the roof, using a rope attached to a frame at roof level and a handrail at ground level. As he did so, both he and the frame fell from the roof to the ground.
An investigation by the HSE found Mr Vincent’s employer, PTSG Electrical Services Limited, failed to adequately assess the risks associated with this work, giving little consideration to the work at height hierarchy of control and opting for personal protection measures over more suitable collective protection measures, such as scaffolding or a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP).
In addition to this, the company had not planned for getting the rope access equipment on to and off the roof safely, providing no instructions to the operatives.
PTSG Electrical Services Limited, of Castleford, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £5448.51 in costs.
HSE inspector Sara Andrews said, “Our thoughts today are with the family of Dennis Vincent, a young dad and husband who did not return home on 24th February 2021 because of the failings of his employer. This incident could easily have been avoided by better planning of the work to ensure adequate controls were in place to prevent falls from the roof. Whilst rope access techniques are appropriate in some circumstances, they should only be used if more appropriate measures, such as fixed scaffolding, cannot be. Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”
A further two companies will appear at Liverpool Crown Court later this year in relation to the incident, after pleading not guilty at an earlier hearing.
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