Death fall company admits failings

The HTI headquarters in Fleetwood where Craig Gray fell to his death.
The HTI headquarters in Fleetwood where Craig Gray fell to his death.

A toy firm has admitted breaking health and safety law after a father of five plummeted to his death from the roof of its Fleetwood warehouse.

Craig Gray, 39, was not wearing a harness or using any safety equipment while cleaning the roof at the Copse Road headquarters of Halsall Toys (HTI).

A court heard yesterday that he fell more than 20ft onto a concrete floor from the roof, which was known to be fragile.

He later died in hospital.

HTI – which designs and makes toys for brands including Disney Pixar and The Simpsons – admitted failing to make sure Mr Gray was not exposed to risk during his work.

Blackpool magistrates also heard the jobbing builder, from Fleetwood, had never carried out that type of work before.

They were told his 17-year-old son, Shane, who had been brought in to help out, was called a “nancy boy” for asking about safety equipment.

Mr Gray, who was mistakenly introduced as a roofer, had no experience of the type of work he was being asked to carry out.

Rachel Broughton, prosecuting, said roof cleaning teams would normally use crawl boards, safety wires and harnesses.

Magistrates also heard how the work was part of a £3,700 contract, agreed between HTI and a third party, contained a spelling mistake and had been drawn up on unheaded paper with no VAT number.

The document was given to a friend of Mr Gray’s, after being introduced to management by his son who worked for the company.

The asbestos roof, with PVS panels, covered 36,000sq ft of the warehouse and was known to be fragile in places.

Richard Atkins, speaking on behalf of HTI, said the company, which exports to countries around the world, admitted the offence.

The case will go to Preston Crown Court for sentencing on June 19.

An HTI spokesman said after the hearing: “We cannot comment on the ongoing legal proceedings.”

HTI was set up in Blackpool in 1952 and moved to its Fleetwood factory in 1993.

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