Two men fined £4,500 over fatal farm fall

The scene of the accident.
The scene of the accident.

Two men have been fined a combined total of £4,500 over a workplace accident which left one man dead and another man injured.

Builder Norman McKenzie and farmer Ivan Reilly were convicted of offences linked to two workmen falling off the roof of a farm shed at Derrycarne Road, a rural road to the north of Portadown, on January 20, 2015.

The scene of the accident.

The scene of the accident.

Bulgarians Petyo Hristanov and Millen Dimov had been sheeting the roof at the time, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said “no safety precautions whatsoever were in place to protect workers from falling”.

The HSE added that the risks were “further exacerbated by the fact that it was raining”.

It is understood that they had been up near the apex of the roof, and slid down it before falling off its edge at a height of just over 16 feet. Mr Hristanov died as a result, whilst Mr Dimov’s injuries were described as minor.

On Friday, March 10, at Craigavon Crown Court, McKenzie (48 and of Drumgose Road, Dungannon) was fined £1,000 for three separate offences under health-and-safety regulations.

He was also given a 15-month custodial sentence, suspended for three years, for manslaughter.

He pleaded guilty to all charges.

Reilly (66, and of Derrycarne Road) had been fined £1,500 after pleading guilty to a breach of construction regulations, the HSE said, adding that his sentence had been handed down on Friday, March 3.

The HSE said Reilly “completely ignored his responsibilities under health and safety law by failing to ensure this work was carried out safely”.

Meanwhile McKenzie, as contractor, “completely failed to assess the risks associated with this job”.

It also issued a statement from Mr Hristanov’s widow, who it did not name.

It said: “My hard working husband and father to our family went to work and never came home. He fell from an unguarded roof and we are still struggling to come to terms with our great loss. As a family we really hope people get the message and be strict with the safety of their employees.”

The HSE said there were 43 fatal accidents on construction sites from 2000 to 2010 in Northern Ireland 20 of which were due to falls from a height.