Labourer Alfie Perrin was working for loft conversion company Rooftop Rooms Ltd on 14th November 2012, when he fell from scaffolding and sustained head injuries he would not recover from.
The death was investigated by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command together with the Health and Safety Executive, who established that Perrin had been instructed to clear rubbish and debris from the rear roof area of the two storey house.
He was doing so by transferring the materials over the flat roof of the dormer extension and down to the pitched roof at the front of the house, where he was told to throw the material into the skip on the ground.
Unfortunately, there was no edge protection around the flat dormer roof and the scaffold platform had a large gap at one end where a ladder should have been fitted or scaffold poles used to reduce the risk of falls. Neither measure was in place.
When he threw a bag of rubble into the skip, he lost balance and fell. Though he was treated at the scene, he later died in hospital.
Pleading guilty to failure to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act and failing to conduct the loft conversion in Camden Road ‘in such a way as to ensure that persons not in its employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety’, the company was fined a substantial £325,000. In addition, they were ordered to pay the Crown’s costs of £12,187.78 and health and safety costs of a further £7,337.84.
Construction remains the most deadly profession in the UK, with 39 fatalities in 2012-13 alone.
Health and Safety is taken extremely seriously, with fines consequently large to discourage abuses, but cases like that of the tragically young Alfie Perrin remain all too common.