Building Companies Have a Responsibility to Ensuring Their Workers Safety

More than five years after his death on the 29th of May 2007, the building company that the young Thomas Whitmarsh, 21, was employed by has been brought to justice.

Thomas was working on installing the roof of the Menai Centre in Bangor, Wales when he fell six metres through an opening to the floor below, sustaining serious head injuries.

The Menai Centre is a troubled shopping centre that opened just as the recession began and has since struggled to let the retail stores that it contains. The company behind the shopping centre, Cathco Property Holdings Limited was forced into administration with Begbies Traynor, the corporate rescue and recovery business on September 16th 2010.

Mr Whitmarsh spent months in hospital after the accident and was making a recovery before he contracted an infection and died of acute meningitis on the 17th of December 2009.

The pathologists of the hospital produced a report pinning the blame of his death on the fall itself, claiming that the accident heightened his chances of contracting the fatal infection.

Mold Crown Court found the company, Watkin Jones & Son Ltd, a principal contractor based at Llandygai Industrial Estate in Bangor guilty of breaching the 1974 Health and Safety Act and they were fined £450,000 and ordered to pay £98,000 in costs.

The company was criticized for having poor communication and co-ordination with the roofing company that they had contracted the work out to, such that the safeguards that should have been in place to prevent falls were missing and the workers were needlessly put at risk. It turned out that edge protection had been in place, but was removed shortly before the accident.

BPM Maintenance takes the safety of our workers very seriously. This sad case of the death of a young roofer, just at the onset of his working life, is a reminder to all building companies that laxity or cost cutting is never an excuse to put the lives of your employees at risk. This business, especially the roofing trade, is often dangerous, so strictly following safety regulations is integral.

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