News Roofer Gets Suspended Prison Sentence After Fatal Fall

A self-employed roofing contractor from Essex has been given a suspended prison sentence after an incident in which a friend fell through the roof of a domestic garage and later died of his injuries.

Steve Mason had been contracted to replace a flat roof on a double garage at a house in Well Lane, Stock, near Chelmsford, and James Waughman was accompanying him.

While on site Mr Waughman, 58, of Perry Road, Tiptree, suffered a stroke and fell through a gap in the rafters on to the garage floor, suffering multiple injuries. He died in hospital on 17 July 2009, just over three weeks after the incident on 24 June.

Steve Mason, also 58 and of Perry Road, Tiptree, received an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay £500 costs at Chelmsford Crown Court after admitting breaching section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Lesley Balkham said:
“This sends out a powerful message to roofing contractors. Steve Mason failed to properly consider the risks of the job and act to limit the chances of injury or even death. He should have put guard-rails around the edge of the roof and taken measures to prevent anyone falling through it, but he chose not to.

“No matter what size the business, everyone in the construction industry should be very familiar with the risks of working at height and appreciate the importance of ensuring that the right precautions are put in place, however small the job. Falls from height remain one of the biggest causes of workplace deaths in the UK.”

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