Newry construction contractor fined following fatal fall from height

Date published: 17 October 2022

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has successfully led a prosecution against self-employed construction contractor, Jerome McCaffery. Mr McCaffery earlier pleaded guilty to one health and safety offence and was today fined a total of £2,500 at Newry Magistrates court.

The prosecution follows an investigation by HSENI into the circumstances of the death of a 57 year old male. On 27 November 2020, Jerome McCaffery was overseeing the replacement of perspex roof lights at a farm building in Camlough, Newry when the deceased fell through the fragile roof structure and died at the incident scene from his injuries.

Speaking after sentencing, Lee Dougan, an Inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team, said: “Falls from height remain the single biggest cause of workplace fatalities and serious injuries in Northern Ireland.

“Working on fragile roof surfaces is a high-risk activity. As far as possible, contractors should plan and organise work to keep people away from fragile surfaces and consider safer alternatives such as suitable work access platforms.”

The investigation found that on the day of the incident, the 57 year old attended the farm to meet with a family member who was also working at the construction site. He subsequently accessed the roof of the farm building and a short time later fell through an existing roof light. 

In this case, no control measures were in place to prevent falls from height or to avoid working on the fragile roof structure. Following the incident, health and safety inspectors attended the incident scene and a prohibition notice was served that prohibited any further work at height activities from continuing until appropriate safety measures were put in place.

Further advice on working at height can be found on the HSENI website at the link below:

Notes to editors: 

  1. Breaches and fines for Jerome McCaffery are as follows:
    Article 5(2) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, fine £2,500
  2. For media enquiries please contact: HSENI Press Office on 028 9024 3249 or email For out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110

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