GRIM details of how an inexperienced roofer died after falling eight metres through a glass rooflight onto a concrete floor have emerged as part of a coroner’s report calling for action to prevent further deaths.

An inquest heard Adam Brunskill, 22, died from a severe head injury he suffered on the second day of his new job at an industrial warehouse.

An inquest heard the roof contained large sections of wired or Georgian glass, which were fragile and not safe to walk on.

There were no safety barriers on the roof to identify the glass rooflights or to prevent a fall and there were no designated walkways.

The hearing was told there was no safety netting inside the large warehouse in Walsall to mitigate a fall.

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The exact circumstances of the fall are unclear, but Mr Brunskill, from County Durham, sustained a severe brain injury and died the following day, on July 15, 2020, in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

The Northern Echo:

Rugby player Adam Brunskill

Mr Brunskill, a first team rugby player at Bishop Auckland Rugby Club, had received no accredited training prior to beginning work, the inquest heard.

The jury ruled Mr Brunskill’s was an ‘accidental death’.

Joanne Lees, Area Coroner for The Black Country, wrote a report to prevent further deaths to Wayne Clarey Roofing and Cladding Ltd as well as the Health and Safety Executive.

Ms Lees said: “During the course of the inquest the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern.

“In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken.”

Mr Brunskill had been employed by Wayne Clarey Roofing and Cladding based in Escomb, Bishop Auckland, to work on a roof with no prior experience, no CSCS card and had not completed a mandatory one-day Health and Safety course.

The coroner said there was no evidence of a designated supervisor responsible for him on the West Midlands site or to give practical on-the-job training.

Ms Lees heard in evidence that one of the principal contractors who provided regular work to Wayne Clarey Roofing and Cladding would undertake to train any future unqualified employees and provide access to an accredited training qualification and training matrix.

The coroner also heard that Mr Clarey had legal responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

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Ms Lees said: “There was no evidence of any clear designated structured training programme in place by Wayne Clarey Roofing and Cladding for new and/or unqualified employee.

“In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths.”

In a response to the coroner’s report, a spokesperson for Wayne Clarey Roofing and Cladding Ltd said the accidental death of Mr Brunskill had meant they “would never put themselves in the position again” of taking on a trainee again but in the “hypothetical situation” that they did, a full training and health and safety schedule would be carried out.

The spokesperson added: “Any future jobs will have a much higher standard of safety measures in place with more rigorous supervision.”

The Health and Safety executive said in their response that that regardless of his experience or inexperience, Mr Brunskill’s death “should have been prevented, not by training, but by the risk assessor recognising the fragile nature of the rooflights during their risk assessment”.

They also said the fall from roof to floor “should not have been possible”.

A spokesperson said: “Whilst we do not believe that lack of training was the main cause of the accident, and believe that everyone must start somewhere, we do of course believe that health & safety training and awareness is important, that the CSCS card system is the industry established system, and fully agree with the Coroner that requiring this concern be addressed is important in the drive to prevent future deaths.

“The Principal Contractor Proclad have recognised that their control of training for workers on sites should be improved. They have revised their Contract For Services document to state that subcontractors on site must ensure that they, and any other persons they bring on site, are trained to a minimum of CSCS card holder, with the one day health & safety course.”

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