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Construction contractor fined after 57-year-old dies on farm

A self-employed construction contractor, Jerome McCaffery, has been ordered to pay £2,500 for a health and safety breach following an incident on a farm in Northern Ireland.

On November 27th 2020, Jerome McCaffery was overseeing the replacement of perspex roof lights at a farm building in Camlough, Newry.

A 57-year-old male fell through the “fragile” roof structure and died at the incident scene from his injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) successfully led a prosecution against McCaffery in recent days following an investigation into the death of the 57-year-old male.

McCaffery pleaded guilty to one health and safety offence, and the judge ordered him today fined a total of £2,500 at Newry Magistrates court.

The investigation found that on the day of the incident, the 57-year old-attended the farm to meet with a family member who was also working at the construction site.

He subsequently accessed the roof of the farm building and, a short time later, fell through an existing roof light.

In this case, no control measures were in place to prevent falls from height or to avoid working on the fragile roof structure.

Health and safety 

Following the incident, health and safety inspectors attended the incident scene, and a prohibition notice was served that prohibited any further work at height activities from continuing until appropriate safety measures were put in place.

Falls from height remain the single biggest cause of workplace fatalities and serious injuries in Northern Ireland.

Working on fragile roof surfaces is a high-risk activity, as Lee Dougan, an inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team, highlighted after the hearing.

As far as possible, contractors should plan and organise work to keep people away from fragile surfaces and consider safer alternatives – such as suitable work access platforms.

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