Two County Antrim self-employed construction contractors fined following workplace death

Date published: 18 October 2022

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) has successfully led a prosecution for breaches of health and safety legislation against two self-employed construction contractors, James (Gary) Wadsworth from Lisburn, and Paul McMullan from Dundrod. The prosecution followed the death in 2020 of James (Jim) Carlisle, a 58-year-old, self-employed contractor who fell from height during a re-roofing project.

Both of the accused had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court today. Gary Wadsworth and Paul McMullan were each fined £1,000 in relation to health and safety failings.  

Lee Dougan, an Inspector with HSENI’s Major Investigation Team said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related deaths within the construction sector.

“All employers, including self-employed contractors, have a legal responsibility to plan and organise work to ensure it can be carried out safely.  If work at height cannot be avoided, a safe means of access must be provided such as mobile elevated work platforms or suitably constructed scaffolding.”

The HSENI investigation established that all three men were working on the replacement of a shed roof at a farm in Hillsborough on 1 September 2020. During the construction work, Mr Carlisle fell approximately 4.4 metres from an unguarded platform and tragically died at the scene.

The platform consisted of three timber planks spanning an internal shed wall and a cage supported by a telescopic handler. There were no control measures in place to prevent falls from height during the construction work and the method of work employed was inherently unsafe.

Immediately following the incident, a health and safety inspector attended the scene and served enforcement notices prohibiting any further work at height activities from taking place 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 Gary Wadsworth are as follows:
    Article 5(2) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, fine £1,000.
  2. Breaches and fines for Paul McMullan are as follows:
    Article 5(2) of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, fine £1,000.
  3. 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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