Firm charged with roofer's death

Worker fell

12.01.2009

A roofing company in East Sussex has appeared before a court charged with manslaughter after a worker fell 20ft to his death.

Colin Cooper, 48, owner and director of IC Roofing, is charged with gross negligence concerning the death of employee Darren Hoofe.

A jury at Hove Crown Court heard that Mr Hoofe fell because his boss had allegedly failed to carry out the necessary risk assessment procedures.

At the time of the incident Mr Hoofe and two other colleagues working with him were not wearing a safety harness and there were no guard rails or safety nets in place.

As a result the 20-year-old fell from the roof at a unit at the Bellbrook industrial estate in Uckfield. He died in hospital the next day from severe head and brain injuries after falling on to the concrete floor.

Jurors heard that a joint investigation by Sussex Police and the Health and Safety Executive led to Mr Cooper and his company being held responsible.

Mr Cooper has pleaded guilty to charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, but denies charges of manslaughter against himself and against IC Roofing.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "This is yet another fatal work accident where a young worker has lost his life.

"Employers need to ensure workers have a safe place and a safe system of work if they are to ensure workers are not injured or killed in an industrial accident.

"I deal with many claims for compensation following accidents at work that could and should have been avoided."