A BUILDING firm has been fined £105,000 after a Skelmersdale roofer was paralysed when he fell from a ladder while carrying a bag of building materials.
Michael Riley, 50, from Skelmersdale, now has almost no movement below his neck and will need to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Walton-based W Carroll & Sons Ltd, which hired Mr Riley as a sub-contractor, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an investigation found roofers needed to carry heavy bags on their shoulders while they made their way down ladders.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the company was working on a project to replace the roofs on approximately 350 properties in the Maghull and Southport area.
Mr Riley had been asked to remove cement sheets from the roof of a house on Victory Avenue in Southport, but had not been able to use the chute feeding general rubble into a skip as the sheets contained asbestos and needed to be disposed of separately.
The only way he had of getting the bags of asbestos sheets down to the ground was to hold each 10kg bag on his shoulder, with only one hand on the ladder.
As he made his way down the ladder on 21 January 2011, Mr Riley lost his balance after just a few rungs and fell backwards for several metres.
He hit the back of a truck that was parked next to the scaffolding and then fell to the ground.
Both his legs and arms were paralysed in the fall, and he suffered major internal injuries which mean he will be severely disabled for the rest of his life.
W Carroll & Sons Ltd, of Delamore Street in Walton, was fined £105,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £64,600 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 on 24 January 2014.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Alan Pojur said:“Michael has suffered major injuries that will mean he will need to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life, and he could easily have been killed because of Carroll’s failings.”