Northern Ireland

Contractor fined for Petyo Hristanov's shed fall death

Farm shed which Petyo Hristanov and Millen Dimov fell from
Image caption Peyto Hristanov fell from this shed on the Derrycarne Road in Portadown in January 2015

A building contractor has been given a suspended sentence for health and safety failings that led to the death of a worker who fell from a shed roof.

Petyo Hristanov fell from a partially-constructed farm shed in Portadown along with workmate Millen Dimov in January 2015.

Mr Dimov suffered minor injuries.

Norman McKenzie pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Craigavon Crown Court. His 15-month sentence was suspended for three years. He was also fined £3,000.

Ivan Reilly, the farmer who hired McKenzie, was fined £1,500.

Mr Reilly, of Derrycarne Road, Portadown, hired the contractor to assist him in building a shed at his farm.

Mr Hristanov, who was originally from Bulgaria, and Mr Dimov were employed by McKenzie, who was on site at the time of the accident.

The court heard that Mr Hristanov and Mr Dimov were given no safety precautions to protect themselves while on the roof, such as scaffolding, a safety net, an elevated platform or harnesses.

The court also heard that McKenzie, of Drumgose Road, Dungannon, did not carry out a risk assessment or briefing.

Image caption Mr Hristanov was originally from Bulgaria

The situation was made more dangerous by the rainy conditions at the time.

The court was told that Mr Hristanov began to slide feet first from the roof and screamed for help. Mr Dimov grabbed his arm but could not stop him and both men fell to the ground.

Zoya Lewis, the daughter of Mr Hristranov, travelled from Bulgaria to hear the verdict and spoke tearfully outside the court.

"We have lost a father and a grandfather," she said. "He just went to work and never came back."

"I don't wish that to happen to any other family, so please do what you had to do and get everything safe for people who work out there."

Image caption Zoya Lewis, Mr Hristanov's daughter, spoke tearfully outside the court

The court judgement followed a joint investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSENI) and PSNI.

Linda Murphy, an inspector with the HSENI, said: "The tragic accident was completely preventable.

"Mr Reilly, the farm owner, was previously advised by HSENI regarding safety work at heights and should have been well aware of the risks.

"As the person commissioning the work, he was required to take reasonable steps to ensure that arrangements were in place to allow work at heights to be carried out safely."

The HSENI also said that McKenzie had "completely failed to assess the risks associated with this job".

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