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Tue June 15 2021

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Contractor killed in roof fall

8 May 12 The director of a building firm has been prosecuted after a self-employed contractor fell to his death through a fragile roof at an industrial building in Penryn.

Paul Gibbons, 59, who lived in Porthleven, was carrying out re-roofing work for Acryflor Ltd at the Kernick Road Industrial Estate on 22 September 2008 when he fell eight metres through a fragile part of the asbestos cement roof onto the floor below. He was taken to hospital but died of his injuries later that day.

An HSE investigation into the incident found that Acryflor (now Onyx Europe Ltd) had failed to put adequate safety measures in place at the site despite the risks involved with working at height.

Truro Crown Court heard last week (3 May) that the work had not been adequately planned and no safety nets or crash deck platforms had been provided to mitigate the effects of a fall.

Matthew Peter Williams, of Trelan Farm, Menerdue Lane, Carnmenellis, Redruth pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £2,500 after the judge heard he was £1.5m in debt and had an annual income of £15,000.

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HSE inspector Jon Harris said after the hearing: "Mr Gibbons’ death could have been prevented if the work had been planned properly and industry standards, such as providing netting, had been applied. The risks of working at height are well-known and falls through fragile materials are the cause of one in five deaths in the construction industry.

"Acryflor Ltd had a duty of care to Mr Gibbons not to expose him to risk as far as was reasonably practical. Mr Williams, as a director of Acryflor, shared that duty.

"The company should have employed a planning co-ordinator to develop a construction plan for this work and the project should have been overseen by someone with appropriate knowledge and experience.

"Safety nets are the industry recognised standard for this purpose and in this case were installed following the incident."

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