Blog - Accidents at Work

Comet Store Fined over Fatal Accident

The Comet electrical store chain has been fined over a fatal accident that happened at one of its locations.

Roof worker Paul Alker died after falling through a skylight on the firms Wrexham store roof back in 2007. He was working on maintenance to the roof when he fell through the fragile structure, landing some 24 ft below. Although scaffolding was used to get to up to the height of the roof, safety harnesses were not provided.

Mr Alker was working for the firm Wrexham Roofing Services owned by Steven Smith at the time of the accident. Comet admitted to picking the company at random from the Yellow Pages and failing to instruct the company on its own health and safety policies. The owner of the roofing firm, Steven Smith had earlier been convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence and jailed for two years. It was reported that after the accident occurred he then hired safety harnesses and placed them on top of the scaffolding in an attempt to fool investigators.

Comet were fined £75,000 and forced to pay £25,000 legal costs for failing to monitor and supervise the roofing work. The Health and Safety Executive brought the prosecution for the easily avoidable tragic accident.

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