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Worker's six metre fall lands two Kent businesses in court

Photo shows the warehouse where a worker fell to his death

A Kent father and grandfather died after plunging six metres through a fragile skylight because safety measures were neglected both by his employer and a major drinks wholesaler, a court has heard.

Robert Rogers, 61, was working for Richard Parker, trading as Ovenden Engineering, which had been contracted by Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine Ltd. to fix a leak in the roof and clean the gutters of their bonded warehouse in Dover, Kent.

Canterbury Crown Court was told that Mr Rogers was on the roof with his brother, Trevor, also an employee of Richard Parker, when he fell through one of the 80 skylights and hit the concrete floor below. He suffered multiple injuries and died later in hospital.

Mr Rogers, known as Bob, of Folkestone, left his wife Jennifer, two sons and nine grandchildren.

The incident, on 16 November 2010, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Richard Parker, of Folkestone, and Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine Limited, trading as CG Hibbert Limited, of West London, for safety breaches.

HSE’s investigation identified failures by both defendants. The court heard there was no safety equipment in place for anyone working on the roof, which was itself fragile. This was despite Mr Parker’s employees working on the warehouse roof as often as every month. There were no crawling boards, scaffolding boards, harnesses or nets to protect workers from the risks.

As the owner of the warehouse, Allied Domecq had responsibility for the site and should have ensured contractors planned their work and carried it out safely and that proper control measures were in place.

Richard Parker, t/a Ovenden Engineering, Radnor Street, Folkestone, Kent was (on 18 June) fined £26,667 and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs after admitting breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine Ltd, t/a CG Hibbert, of Chancellors Road, West London, was fined £266,677 with costs of £10,752 after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the same Act. Both defendants had entered guilty pleas at a hearing before Canterbury Magistrates in April.


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