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Comet fined £75k after roofer death

High Street electrical giant Comet Group has been fined £75,000 following the death of a contractor who fell through a roof light at its Wrexham Store.

Roofing contractor Paul Alker, 33, of Brynteg near Wrexham was working on the roof of the store without any safety equipment when he fell 25 feet onto the stone floor.

He suffered multiple injuries including rib fractures, a broken collar bone and soft tissue injuries which led to a fatal pulmonary embolism on 12 June 2007.

Comet pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was also ordered to pay £24,446 in costs.

HSE inspector Debbie Johnson said: “Comet failed to ensure that its contractor had taken steps to prevent falls through the fragile roof lights, ultimately leading to the death of a worker.

“This incident could have been avoided if the roof lights at the Wrexham store had been protected and Mr Alker had been provided with appropriate safety equipment.”

Mr Alker’s employer, director of Wrexham Roof Services Steven Smith was jailed for two years in November 2007 in relation to this incident. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter, a charge under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and a further charge of commiting acts intending to pervert the course of justice.