Fatal fall of worker ‘totally’ avoidable
THE death of a father-ofone in a fall from a warehouse roof was ‘totally avoidable’, an inquest jury has heard.
Michael Sweet, 48, from Edgeley, was cleaning out the guttering on a warehouse roof at the Ringway Trading Estate on Shadowmoss Road in Wythenshawe on December 12, 2011.
He was with co-worker Gary Edwards, 55, who climbed off the roof to make tea and returned to find a gaping hole in the roof.
To his horror, he realised Mr Sweet had plunged through a fragile section on to the concrete floor 30ft below.
Mr Sweet was taken to Wythenshawe Hospital, where he tragically died of his injuries.
In January 2013, the company that owns the warehouse – Aramex Delivery Unlimited – was hit with a £250,000 fine after a health and safety probe found no safety measures had been enforced.
Mr Sweet was not employed by Aramex, but worked for one of its contractors which was owned by Gary Edwards.
Mr Edwards told police the only safety equipment he had provided for cleaning the warehouse roof had been a pair of gloves.
He was given a suspended four-month jail sentence for failing to properly ensure Mr Sweet’s safety.
At the inquest at Manchester town hall, Mr Edwards said he had told Mr Sweet not to step on the fragile roofing.
He insisted that the work they were doing wasn’t dangerous.
Ian Betley, of the HSE, who investigated the incident said: “Aramex was also aware of the risks but simply left the two men to it, rather than carrying out its own assessment of how the work would be carried out and monitoring what was being done.”
The company said it had since overhauled its health and safety procedures following the tragic accident, which had ‘traumatised many of the employees’.
Speaking after the jury delivered their verdict of accidental death, coroner Nigel Meadows said: “You may think this was a totally avoidable death.
“That is always a very sad reflection.”