Updated Apr 1, 2021

NI company found guilty of corporate manslaughter

H&M Engineering & Roofing Specialists (NI) Limited, were fined a total of £75,000 after pleading guilty to five health and safety offences as well as a charge of corporate manslaughter, after the death of one of their employees.

On 3 December 2016, Mr Hugh Thomas Jack, an employee of the company, fell through an unsecured section of a roof on an industrial premises in Carryduff, his injuries were fatal. At the time of the incident he was undertaking work that involved over-cladding an existing roof structure.

An HSE NI investigation found that there was not a suitable and sufficient risk assessment in place, the roof work had also not been properly planned, and consequently adequate safety measures were not in place. There were no fall prevention measures, such as edge protection, or measures to minimise the distance or consequences of a fall, for example a safety net, at the time of the incident.

On top of these failings the company had also failed to report the incident to the HSE NI as a work-related death.

Kyle Carrick, Head of HSE NI's Major Investigation Team, commented: "Falls from height remain the single biggest cause of workplace fatalities and serious injuries in Northern Ireland. This case, which has resulted in a tragic loss of life, is one example where an early assessment of the risks would have quickly identified the safe working practices needed to ensure the safety of workers."

"I would urge everyone undertaking roof work, or working at height, to make sure they have taken the time to carry out a risk assessment to identify the dangers involved and make appropriate plans to control any risk. Where necessary they should seek competent advice before beginning any job."

The company pleaded guilty to charges under the following, the:

  • Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order SI 1978/1039, fine £5,000;
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (NI) SR 2000/388, fine £5,000;
  • Work at Height Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2005/279, fine £10,000;
  • Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 1997/455, fine £5,000.

They were also found guilty of corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, resulting in a £50,000 fine.