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Date PostedApril 22, 2015

Fatal Rooflight Fall – Owners Sentenced

A British director and company have been sentenced over a fatal fragile rooflight fall. According to British health and safety website PPConstructionSafety.com, a building firm and its owner have been sentenced at Preston Crown Court at the beginning of February following the tragic incident which led to the death of an employee, Jason Pennington who fell through a roof and to his death.

The director Peter Mawson and his company Peter Mawson Ltd, a building and joinery business, pleaded guilty in December 2014 to Corporate Manslaughter and to contravening the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) by failing to ensure the safety of employees.

The post on PPConstructionSafety.com explains more about the penalties and orders issued to the company,

cmch1Fine of £200,000 for Corporate Manslaughter and £20,000 in respect of the HSW Act offence;

Publicity order to advertise what happened on the company website for a set period; and

Take out a half page spread in the local newspaper; and

Pay prosecution costs of £31,504.77.

Source: http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com/newsdesk/2015/02/03/contractor-guilty-of-corporate-manslaughter/

Mawson pleaded guilty to contravening the HSE Act and was sentenced to 8 months in prison, suspended for 2 years. He was also sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work.

According to reports, Jason Pennington, had been working on the roof when he fell through a “skylight” from a height of approximately 7.6m onto a concrete floor below.

Jason was taken to Furness General Hospital where he sadly died a short time later. The court heard that the company had failed to take the necessary measures to ensure employee safety.

A police representative explained:

 “This has been a long and complex investigation, and we have worked closely with HSE to establish what happened on that tragic day.

I hope that this case serves as a warning to other businesses in Cumbria that health and safety measures are extremely important, and if not implemented correctly can result in devastating consequences.

Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Pennington at this difficult time. Hopefully the sentencing today will provide some sort of closure, and they can be left to grieve in peace.”

Source: http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com/newsdesk/2015/02/03/contractor-guilty-of-corporate-manslaughter/

Sadly this sentence does not bring back the man or ease the grief of his family but hopefully it will serve as a warning to other contractors about the importance ensuring workers have a safe work environment and safe system of work.

The investigating inspector at the HSE, Chris Hatton, explained:

“Jason tragically lost his life because the company that employed him did nothing to make sure he was safe while he worked on a fragile roof.

Peter Mawson knew the clear panels on the roof weren’t safe to walk on but neither he nor his company provided any equipment to prevent workers falling to their death.

Source: http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com/newsdesk/2015/02/03/contractor-guilty-of-corporate-manslaughter/

He went on to add that if scaffolding or netting had been fitted under the fragile panels, or covers had been fitted over them, this tragedy could have been avoided.


Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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