Halifax mill owner also fined for poor supervision of repair work to its roof

A roofing contractor and the owner of a Halifax mill have been prosecuted after a worker broke both his heels falling from a roof on which he had been carrying out repairs.

Roofer Michael Stephenson from Bradford was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 at Halifax magistrates' court after pleading guilty to breaching part of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Mill owner Calderbrook Estates of Oldham Road, Ripponden, West Yorkshire, was also fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £3,355.

The prosecution followed an incident on 31 October 2007 when subcontractor Francis Ancliffe, who was working for Stephenson, fell 4m from the roof and broke both his heels after a ladder he was using became detached from the roof ridge.

Calderbrook Estates had partly organised the roof work with Stephenson, whom it has engaged as a roofing contractor at Ladyship Mills, and failed to supervise and monitor the system of work that he had put in place.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said there had been problems with the systems of work since the job began on 10 September 2007, with insufficient scaffolding and guard rails provided and scaffolding taken down before work was completed.

HSE inspector David Welsh said that he hoped other UK businesses could learn from this incident, and “appreciate the high risk involved with work at height on roofs”.

He added: “Injuries caused by falls from height are the biggest cause of death at work in Great Britain. Work at height must always be properly planned, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner.”