fatal skylight fall

Fatal skylight fall – company and director sentenced

A Wakefield roofing company has been fined and its sole director given a suspended sentence after a dad-of-two died in a skylight fall.

Jonathan May, 39, from Horbury, Wakefield, fell 12 metres through a skylight to his death.

The incident happened when he was working as a subcontractor for Davis Industrial Roofing Limited on a storm-damaged warehouse roof at F&G Commercials Limited, Barnsley,

The work involved the replacement of more than 300 skylights on a fragile asbestos cement roof on 18 December 2016.

“Poorly supervised and carried out unsafely”

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found Davis Industrial Roofing Limited failed to provide an appropriate risk assessment, method statement, and suitable and sufficient fall protection measures for the roof work to be carried out safely.

The investigation found reasonably practicable precautions were available. However, poor planning resulted in a risk assessment and method statement that was not suitable and sufficient. The work was poorly supervised and carried out unsafely.

Melvyn Davis is the sole director of the company who drew up the risk assessment and method statement.

He regularly visited the site to monitor progress yet failed to provide suitable and sufficient fall protection measures.

He also consented to the use of an unsafe system of work.

This constituted a personal neglect for safety during the roof work.

“Could so easily have been avoided”

Melvyn Davis, of Field Place, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

He received a sentence of eight weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. He also received an order to do 15 days of rehabilitation activity at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on 16 November 2022.

Davis Industrial Roofing pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company received a fine of £20,000 and will pay costs of £12,557.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Chris Gallagher said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.”

The CIP Construction Health and Safety Manual provides comprehensive guidance on fall protection measures when working at height.