Worker died in 30ft horror fall

Mark Simpson
Mark Simpson
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AN ELECTRICIAN plunged more than 30 feet to his death after falling through a perspex sheet on the roof of a distribution warehouse in Sheffield, an inquest heard.

Mark Simpson, aged 43, of Bocking Lane, Greenhill, was walking on a loading bay roof at IDS Logistics UK Ltd, in Darnall, when he stepped onto the plastic, which acted as a light strip.

Michael Smith, IDS Logistics’ facilities manager, told Sheffield Coroner’s Court he heard a “breaking noise” as the perspex gave way, sending Mark plummeting to the ground.

“I just remember seeing him one minute and then him not being there the next,” he said.

“I ran to where he fell, looked down through the hole and saw him lying on the floor.”

Jurors heard self-employed Mark had met Mr Smith on the day of the tragedy in March 2009 about installing a new electrical cabinet and video conferencing at the site on Kettlebridge Road.

But the pair climbed onto the roof after discussing a quote Michael had received for cleaning the gutters on top of the warehouse.

The jury also saw aerial footage taken from a helicopter, showing a gaping hole in the light strip.

A post-mortem examination found Mark died from multiple injuries, including haemorrhages in his chest and brain.

The inquest heard IDS Logistics, which distributes clothes and leather goods, had occupied the site for around a year, but signed a lease for the 380,000 sq ft warehouse eight days before Mark’s death.

IDS were responsible for maintaining the premises and keeping them in a good state of repair.

Mr Simpson was well-known to the company and had worked as a contractor for the firm “many times”, the inquest heard.

Mark visited on March 6, and the men went onto the roof at around 4pm after looking at the conferencing suite and cabinet room.

Michael said he had been given a £3,000 quote to have the gutters cleaned, which would have required using an elevated platform.

“Mark thought the quote was high. I needed to go on to the roof to see if there was any other access than using a platform.

“Mark said ‘Shall we go on the roof?’ He led the way, he went up the ladder first.”

The pair, both wearing work shoes and flourescent jackets, had to walk over the warehouse’s low bay roof, before climbing another ladder to the loading bay.

No risk assessment was completed, jurors heard.

Mr Smith said Mark’s mood was “fine”, adding: “It was the end of the week and he was very buoyant.”

The inquest continues.