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A former Royal Engineer died after falling off a roof due to poor safety measures being in place, a Health and Safety Executive investigation has revealed.

The family of Neil Phillips, 44, spoke out following an inquest at the County Hall in Exeter, Devon. They stated that he had been in the Royal Engineers for 12 years, often working in dangerous territories. Due to his background, they expressed their shock at him dying in this manner. They added:

“At the time of his death, Neil was working in an industry where consideration of safety appears to be secondary to time and money. Safety procedures were sadly lacking on the site where he was working.”

Phillips was working for C & R Construction on a roof development in Woodbury, Devon in May 2016 when the tragedy occurred. The father of two daughters fell off the roof, suffering injuries to his brain and spinal cord. He died later the same day at Derriford Hospital.

Following an investigation by the HSE, it was discovered that the safety barriers which were in place were inadequate, and that the gap was twice the level recommended by the HSE. The co-director of C & R Construction, Paul Conibeare, stated that he had been unaware that the gap in the safety rail was this wide, and added that since the tragic incident, the correct measures have been put in place.

All companies have a duty of care to ensure that they follow the health and safety guidelines, which may also involve the use of specialist workwear and equipment. 

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