Man Dies From Roof Fall When Fixing Sign


An elderly man was sent up onto a roof to help to fix a new advertising sign, and the fragile roof gave way resulting in the man’s tragic death. This was another sad example of an entirely preventable death.

Quality Exhaust Supplies and Fitting Service Ltd owns the vehicle repair garage called GB Autos, located in Longsight Industrial Estate, Manchester. On February 8th 2009, its owner asked worker Mohammed Hashim, 76, to climb onto the roof of the building to assist with the erection of a new sign on top of it. The owner knew that the roof was unsafe and warned Mr Hashim of this. However he took no action to make the situation secure by the use of crawl boards, scaffold or mobile tower, carried out no risk assessment and failed to use proper signboard contractors who would have been trained in this type of work.

Fragile roof well known to owner

Consequently Mr Hashim, after helping to affix the sign, was crossing the sloping roof to go back to the ladder and in so doing, fell to the floor of the MOT bay through a roof skylight which broke under him. Despite medical treatment in the garage he did not subsequently regain consciousness, and later died in hospital.

Quality Exhaust Supplies and Fitting Service Ltd was prosecuted by HSE for their failure to ensure the worker’s safety. The company was heavily criticised because it was clear from the owner’s warning that the danger was apparent to him, but he nevertheless exposed Mr. Hashim to needless risk by instructing him to climb onto the roof without taking any protective measures.

The company was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £3,000 of the prosecution’s costs for exposing someone not in their employment to risk, an offence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, at Manchester Crown Court on 16 February 2012.

How safety consultants can avert danger

The case emphasises the point that it is not only employees of a firm itself that are their responsibility. Contractors working for the company are also under their duty of care and they will be held responsible for any danger to which they may become exposed. In this case, a qualified advertising sign erectors would have had the right equipment to carry out the work safely and the company should have assessed the risk and employed the right people for the job. A garage like this has plenty of attendant risks in its range of activities and would benefit from using a hands-on firm of health and safety consultants likeMcCormack Benson Health & Safety. They will carry out risk assessments and write a health and safety policy as well as being available to visit whenever a one-off event like this occurs, to advise on the best way of handling a project without risking tragic results.