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Contractors fined after 58-year-old dies on farm

Two Antrim-based self-employed construction contractors have been fined following a workplace death.

In 2020, James (Jim) Carlisle, a 58-year-old, self-employed contractor, fell from height during a re-roofing project on a farm.

Two self-employed construction contractors, James (Gary) Wadsworth from Lisburn, and Paul McMullan from Dundrod appeared in court in connection with the incident earlier this week.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) successfully led a prosecution for breaches of health and safety legislation.

Both of the accused had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court.

The judge ordered Wadsworth and McMullan to pay a fine to the tune of £1,000 in relation to health and safety failings.

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Workplace death

The case came to light after an HSENI investigation established that all three men were working on the replacement of a shed roof at a farm in Hillsborough on September 1st, 2020.

During the construction work, Carlisle fell circa 4.4 metres from an unguarded platform and tragically died at the scene.

The court heard that the platform comprised three timber planks spanning an internal shed wall and a cage supported by a telescopic handler.

There were no control measures implemented to prevent falls from height during the construction work and work method employed was “inherently unsafe”.

Immediately following the incident, a health and safety inspector attended the scene.

They served enforcement notices prohibiting any further work at height activities from taking place until appropriate safety measures were put in place.

Working at a height

Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related deaths within the construction sector.

All employers – including self-employed contractors – have a legal responsibility to plan and organise work to ensure it can be carried out safely.

If work at height cannot be avoided, a safe means of access must be provided – such as mobile elevated work platforms or suitably constructed scaffolding.

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