On 3rd February 2008 an engineer from Croydon died after falling 13.5 metres from the roof of a four-storey house he was working on.  Noel Corbin who was only 29 years old at the time, suffered fatal head injuries when he landed on a patio area at the side of the property.

His employer, Satellite TV installation company, Foxtel Ltd were prosecuted after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found a number of failings were made by the firm.

Work at height was not properly planned

Foxtel Ltd had failed to ensure that Mr Corbin had the correct safety equipment for the work he was doing and also failed to properly plan, organise or monitor his work.

When Mr Corbin first started working for Foxtel Ltd, they didn't approach his former employers for references and didn't accompany him on any initial visits; therefore they had no idea if he was competent, working at height.

Foxtel Ltd is no longer trading and was shown to have no assets; therefore despite the fact that they pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 they were fined only £1.

Tragic death was easily preventable

Charles Linfoot, HSE inspector said: “Mr Corbin’s death has had a devastating effect on his family made all the more tragic by the incident was easily preventable. Owing to the foreseeable risk of falling and the lack of suitable access equipment, the work should have been cancelled”.

Christalla Christodoulidou a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Serious Injuries Team said: “Falls from height remain the most common cause of workplace fatalities. Climbing and working at height is not like a schoolboy clambering up a tree. The way in which Mr Corbin was managed was wholly inappropriate”.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2011/coi-ldn-1512.htm