48-year-old Mark Francis Bray of Louisiana Drive, Warrington was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court to two years in prison after pleading guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and to perverting the course of justice by doctoring records.
On Thursday 24th September 2015, 54-year-old Kenneth Drake fell through a fragile roof on which he was working, to the floor below. He sustained severe head injuries and died.
Ken Drake was working as a roofer for Roofing Consultants Ltd and Mark Bray was the contracts manager responsible for the safety of his employees.
An investigation by Greater Manchester Police and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that there had been fundamental breaches of duty on the part of those who organised the work to the roof – both Roofing Consultants Ltd and a second company involved in the work, High Ridge Roofing Solutions.
They failed to take practicable steps to ensure the safety of workers. Mark Bray insisted that safety netting was not needed. Experts consulted by investigators said that netting would have saved Mr Drake and costed approximately £1250 to install.
During the investigation, police examined Bray’s computer and found that he had altered records to mislead the investigation. He presented a risk assessment document containing Ken Drake’s forged signature in order to mislead and attempt to justify his actions.
High Ridge Roofing Solutions Ltd was fined £12,000 with £33,000 costs after being found guilty of Regulation 15(2) Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 following a trial.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Eales, of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “Today’s result should serve as a stark reminder to those who employ people and have a responsibility to look after them in the workplace – cutting corners in this way is dangerous and can ultimately rip families apart, because it was these actions that had absolutely cataclysmic consequences and led to Ken’s unnecessary and preventable death.
“The fact that Bray went onto forge Ken’s signature demonstrates than rather than thinking about Ken and his loved ones in the aftermath of his death, Bray’s sole thought was to cover his tracks and prevent the investigation from establishing what had occurred.”
HSE principal inspector, Laura Royales said: “This was an entirely foreseeable and preventable incident which resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life. Falls from height remain the biggest cause of workplace fatalities in the UK construction industry. It is vital that those involved in planning, managing and carrying out work at height understand the risks and identify and implement suitable control measures to prevent injury. Had such steps been taken in this case, this incident would not have occurred.”