A Manchester building contractor has been jailed following the death of a casual labourer who fell nearly seven metres through a fragile roof.

Saleem Hussain, the 45-year-old labourer from Manchester had been carrying out repair work at Witney Mill, Manchester when the incident occurred on 23 November 2013. He had been engaged by the warehouse owner, who believed him to be a competent building contractor, to carry out repair and maintenance work on the warehouse roof. He then hired two people to do the work.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that both workers had accessed the roof via a ladder in order to repair and seal leaking guttering.

No safety precautions were in place to protect the two men from the danger of falling through the fragile roof and they were not qualified to carry out work at height.  Manchester Crown Court understood that Mr Hussain failed to assess the risks or put a safe working method in place. No suitable training or equipment to work on the roof had been provided.

Saleem Hussain of Birchfields Road, Manchester pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was sentenced to 8 months immediate imprisonment.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Principal Inspector Mike Sebastian said:

”The dangers of falls through fragile roofs and working at height are well known. Simple steps such as removing the need to access the roof directly by using mobile working platforms, or boarding out the roof, or using safety harnesses, can and should be used to prevent accident and injury.

Mr Hussain’s failure to take any such actions resulted in a tragic and needless loss of life”.