On 24 January 2014 at Liverpool Crown Court, a local building firm was fined £105,000 after it failed to carry out a risk assessment or provide suitable equipment for workers to do their jobs safely.
A 50 year old roofer, subcontracted with the firm, was paralysed when he fell from a ladder at a property in Southport while carrying a bag of building materials. He will now need to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
The court was told that W Carroll & Sons Ltd, based in Walton, was working on a project to replace the roofs of properties in the Maghull and Southport area. The firm was using around 20 subcontractors to carry out the work. Most of the rubble being removed from the roofs was fed down a chute into a skip. However, some of the cement sheets that needed removing contained asbestos and needed to be disposed of separately in bags.
A Health & Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that no proper equipment was provided for the roofers to enable them to lower bags of asbestos sheets to the ground safely. Each bag weighed around 10kg and had to be kept upright and carried by the roofers on their shoulders whilst they climbed down ladders.
On 21 January 2011, the roofer was carrying one of these bags down the ladder and lost his balance. He fell several metres and hit the back of a truck that was parked next to the scaffolding before falling to the ground.
The HSE investigation also found that despite this incident, the company still continued to put lives in danger as they had failed to change the system for removing asbestos waste.
W Carroll & Sons Ltd was fined £105,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were also ordered to pay costs in the case.
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