Trial into death of Falkirk roofer begins in Manchester

Scott Harrower 42, the workman who died in Manchester following a fall on a building site, on Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Scott Harrower 42, the workman who died in Manchester following a fall on a building site, on Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Falkirk building firm boss on trial after a workman was killed in a roof fall ‘put profit before safety’.

Allan Thomson (52), of Falkirk, and his company Building and Dismantling Contractors Ltd, are charged with gross negligence manslaughter in connection with the death of Maddistion father-of-two Scott Harrower (42).

Mr Harrower who suffered fatal head injuries after plunging 25 feet from a roof of a building he was helping to demolish in Stockport on January 21, 2014.

Just hours earlier another workman, also from the Falkirk area, suffered “life changing” injuries, fracturing his spine, pelvis, leg and arm after falling from the same roof.

Principal contractor Michael Smith, 52, and his Rochdale-based firm C Smith and Sons Ltd (CCS) have also been charged with breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Andrew Thomas laid out the prosecution’s case yesterday at the start of the trial at Manchester Crown Court, stating the prosecution would attempt to prove the accident in January 2014 was “entirely avoidable”, the safety equipment provided to the men was “worse than useless” and the incident was a “clear case of an employer putting profit before safety”.

The court heard that CCS won the contract to demolish the former Carpet Right building in Stockport and as the principal contractor drew up health and safety documents.

But just days before the work was due to commence, Mr Smith and Mr Thomson were in contact with each other, and Mr Thomson’s firm was instead sub-contracted to dismantle the building and sell on the parts, known in the trade as “a zero cost bid”.

He hired Mr Harrower and three other men, who travelled from Falkirk to Stockport to do the work.

On January 21, 2014, one man fell from the roof onto a concrete floor and was seriously injured. Just hours later, the other men returned to work, and shortly before 4pm, Mr Harrower also fell from the roof.

He died later in hospital.

Mr Thomas said the prosecution will attempt to prove that the safety equipment provided to the men was not adequate, they were not properly supervised and that new health and safety documents relating to the process of dismantling, rather than demolishing the building, were not drawn up before the work commenced.

The defence has yet to outline its case.

It believed the trial will last for three weeks.