Animal Crematorium Owner Fined For Worker's Death

Self-Employed Worker Fell Through Roof While Conducting Repairs

20.04.2015

The owner of a pet and equine crematorium has been fined for safety failings that led to the death of a self-employed worker on the premises.

Paul Hoskin, an agricultural engineer, was asked to repair holes in the Cremtor crematorium roof in September 2013, with the assistance of a Cremtor employee. Neither Mr Hoskin nor the Cremtor employee had any experience or training in carrying out roof work.

During the works, the roof gave way and Mr Hoskin fell 6.6 metres to the floor where he died. A wooden pallet intended to break any fall was found to be entirely inadequate for the job.

HSE inspectors found no evidence of proper safety equipment such as crawling boards, work platforms, harnesses or lanyards. The roof was also known to be fragile, and no risk assessments had been carried out ahead of the work.

Sally Williams, owner of Cremtor, pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Ms Williams was ordered to pay fines of £45,000, and £8,180 in costs.

HSE Inspector Helena Allum said: "Mr Hoskin's tragic death revealed a catalogue of serious safety failings with this job.

"Employers must make sure people they ask to do work for them have the right training and experience for the job and are provided with the equipment to do it safely. Activities must be properly assessed and planned in advance.

"Falls from height are one of the most common causes of fatalities at work and yet simple procedures and planning could save many lives."

Expert Opinion
This is another terrible case which highlights the inherent dangers of working at height and why anyone undertaking such work is properly training and supervised to carry out such tasks.

"Sadly this is far from an isolated incident, as we have seen numerous cases in which workers have suffered life-changing injuries as a result of falls from height which could have been avoided through the use of the correct equipment and proper risk assessments.

"Businesses need to ensure that health and safety is always their top priority and this is an important example why."
Stephen Nye, Partner