North West Wales

Bangor roof death: HSE warns after Thomas Whitmarsh's fatal fall

The death of a construction worker after falling through a hole in a roof has prompted a warning about the dangers of working at height.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) spoke after a court fined a construction firm £450,000 following the fall of a 21-year-old roofer in Bangor, Gwynedd, in 2007.

Thomas Whitmarsh suffered a major head injury and died two years later.

Watkin Jones and Son Ltd had denied breaching safety rules.

HSE inspector Chris Wilcox said poor co-ordination on part of the site of the Menai Shopping Centre led to Mr Whitmarsh falling.

An edge protection was removed from around the roof opening without alternative safeguards in place, he added.

"Falls from height are an alarmingly common cause of death and serious injury in construction.

"All too often straightforward practical precautions are not considered and workers are put needlessly at risk," he said.

Mr Wilcox added: "This tragic case should remind all contractors that work at height must be managed effectively and adequate safeguards should be in place to prevent falls".

In 2011/12 49 workers died on construction sites in the UK, with falls from height a major cause.

Information on working at height is available on the HSE website.

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