14th February 2023
A company has been fined £120,000 after a dad died following a fall from the roof of a building site.
Father-of-one Dennis Vincent, 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.
Mr Vincent, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, 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.
The incident happened on 24 February 2021 at Palmyra House, Palmyra Square in Warrington.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (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.
HSE guidance on roof work can be found at: Construction – Roof work industry health & safety (hse.gov.uk)
PTSG Electrical Services Limited, of Flemming Court, Whistler Drive, 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 at Wirral Magistrates’ Court on 9 February 2023.
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 24 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.