A Gateshead building firm has been fined £100,000 after one of its employees fell to his death while dismantling a hangar roof at Bristol International Airport.

Rubb Buildings Limited, of Dukesway, Tyne Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after Steven Watson (30) from Tyne and Wear fell through the roof while dismantling the disused Brymon hangar on 16 December 2006.

Mr Watson fell approximately 30 feet onto the concrete floor below, and died at the scene from multiple internal injuries.

He had previously cut through the PVC tarpaulin roof and as he went to climb back in to the mobile work platform, he fell through the section he had cut away.

Bristol Crown Court heard that there were no other protective measures in place and Rubb Buildings Ltd should have ensured that Mr Watson had no need to climb directly onto the roof.

Rubb Buildings Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £48,795.36.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector, Steve Frain, said:

“Steven Watson should have been properly protected by Rubb Buildings Ltd, instead he lost his life.

“The company failed in its duty to ensure there was a properly planned and supervised means of working – there should have been no need to work directly on the roof.

“Falls from height can be extremely serious risks and adequate safety measures must be in place to protect all workers in order to prevent tragic incidents such as this.”

1.Rubb Buildings Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1)(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 in that: “It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.”
2.The incident happened at Bristol International Airport, Bristol BS48 3DY
3.Further guidance on health and safety issues relating to safety when working at height can be found on the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/index[1]
4.The court also ordered the defendant to pay a separate £15 victim surcharge, the proceeds of which will be spent on services for victims and witnesses.