Fa­tal fall of worker ‘to­tally’ avoid­able

Stockport Times West - - STEPPING HILL HOSPITAL -

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.”

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