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Bradford roofing contractor fined after worker's fall

The Health and Safety Executive has prosecuted a roofing contractor and the owners of a Halifax mill after a worker fell from a roof while carrying out repair work.

Michael Stephenson of Poplar Avenue, Bradford was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 at Halifax Magistrates Court and Calderbrook Estates of Oldham Road, Ripponden, West Yorkshire was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £3,355 after pleading guilty.

The prosecution followed an incident on 31 October 2007 at Ladyship Mills, Old Lane, Halifax, where Michael Stephenson was engaged by the mill's owners, Calderbrook Estates, as a roofing contractor. Towards the end of the work, a subcontracted roofer working for Stephenson, Francis Ancliffe, fell four metres from the roof and broke both his heels after a ladder he was using became detached from the roof ridge.

There had been problems with the systems of work since the start of the job, on 10 September 2007, exposing roofers to risk of serious injury by falling from height. Scaffolding and guard rails were not provided at all places they were required and the scaffolding was taken down before the work was completely finished.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector David Welsh said: "I hope other businesses can learn from this incident and appreciate the high risk involved with work at height on roofs. Injuries caused by falls from heights 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."