Two County Down construction employers have been sentenced following the death of a policyholder

Both employers were sentenced today (7 July 2022) at Belfast Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to breaching health and safety legislation.

Leslie Wright, a demolition contractor from Newtownards, was fined a total of £90,000. In addition, Mr Wright was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also deprived of the position of director for 10 years. H. Miskimmin Limited, a construction company based in Donaghady, was fined £45,000.

Today’s hearing follows an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland (HSENI).

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The incident happened during the refurbishment of an old factory site on Comber Road Newtownards. Demolition, site clearance and removal of asbestos materials were contracted to Leslie Wright and H. Miskimmin Limited.

On 28 May 2014, Mr Raymond Morgan, 43, fell five meters through the roof of a derelict factory and tragically died of his injuries the following day.

Speaking after the sentencing, Health and Safety Inspector Ann Cassidy said: “Working at heights is inherently dangerous and carries an obvious and well-known risk of death and serious injury from falls.

“This tragic loss of life could have been avoided. Where work at height cannot be avoided, all contractors must ensure that safety measures are in place to prevent falls and protect workers. If necessary, employers should not hesitate to seek competent advice.’

The investigation revealed that Mr Morgan and several other workers were on the roof removing asbestos sheeting, which was then lowered to the ground using a scissor lift. At approximately 12.15pm, Mr Morgan fell through the fragile asbestos roof onto the concrete floor. No precautions were taken to prevent any worker from falling from or through the roof structure.

In this case, both parties were responsible for on-site safety violations.

Further advice on working at height can be found on the HSENI website at Two County Down construction employers have been sentenced following the death of a policyholder

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