Building contractor jailed for safety failings after worker dies in roof fall

Manchester building contractor Saleem Hussain has been jailed for eight months for failing to provide protection measures after a casual labourer fell to his death while working on a fragile roof.

The 45-year-old Manchester labourer had been carrying out repair work at Witney Mill in the city when he fell seven metres while carrying out repair and maintenance work on the warehouse roof on November 23, 2013.

Hussain, who was hired by the warehouse owner who believed him to be a competent building contractor, employed two people to do the work but failed to assess the risks or put a safe working method in place. No suitable training or equipment to work on the roof had been provided.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that both workers were not qualified to carry out work at height. They had accessed the roof via a ladder in order to repair and seal leaking guttering. No safety precautions were in place to protect the two men from the danger of falling through the fragile roof.

Saleem Hussain of Birchfields Road, Manchester pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to eight months immediate imprisonment.

Speaking after the hearing at Manchester Crown Court, HSE principal inspector Mike Sebastian said:”The dangers of falls through fragile roofs and working at height are well known. Simple steps such as removing the need to access the roof directly by using mobile working platforms, or boarding out the roof, or using safety harnesses, can and should be used to prevent accident and injury.

Mr Hussain’s failure to take any such actions resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life”.

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