Ballymena building contractor fined £22,500 for death of worker

Date published: 12 February 2015

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G & J Crothers was today sentenced for safety failings that led to the death of 39 year old employee Michael Beston.

The Ballymena company pleaded guilty to one health and safety breach and was fined £22,500 plus £1,500 costs at Laganside Crown Court.

On 29 June 2013, G & J Crothers had undertaken to remove and replace tin roofing sheets from an agricultural type outbuilding. During the work Mr Beston stepped on a sheet that was not fixed in place, resulting in him falling approximately four metres.

The entirety of the equipment provided to carry out the work at height consisted of two roof ladders and one upright ladder, instead of appropriate equipment such as tower scaffold, safety nets or a Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP).

Today's judgement follows a Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) investigation into the fatal incident

Speaking after the sentencing Jonathan Knox, an inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said: “Our thoughts are very much with Michael Beston’s family today.

“If some straightforward practical safety precautions had been put in place, Michael’s death could have been avoided.

“This case is a stark reminder that companies need to identify the risks associated with working at height before work starts. They must always ensure that appropriate systems and equipment are used to protect employees and to prevent more needless deaths.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The health and safety breach was as follows: 

    Article 4 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978. 

  2. Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body, sponsored by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
  3. HSENI is the lead body responsible for the promotion and enforcement of health and safety at work standards in Northern Ireland

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