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Death fall Tyrone chimney sweep Eugene Campbell 'did not use correct ladder'

By Staff Reporter

Published 10/11/2016

Roof fall: Eugene Campbell
Roof fall: Eugene Campbell

A coroner has highlighted the dangers of high-risk occupations after ruling that a chimney sweep who died in a fall had not used the required ladder.

An inquest into the death of Eugene Francis Campbell (57) of Aghareany Close, Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, was told he died after having sustained fractures to his skull and jaw, as well as both arms after falling from the roof.

The Coroner's Court sitting at Dungannon heard that the well-regarded tradesman was booked to sweep the chimney of a house at Tartlaghan Road, Donaghmore around 6.15pm on September 28, 2015.

The occupant, Brian Edwards, said that around an hour had passed when his wife Denise commented there was no noise, which they would have expected with the chimney being swept.

He went outside and found Mr Campbell on the ground, and shouted for his wife to call an ambulance. Mr Edwards said: "I felt for a pulse at his neck, but there was nothing."

An Ambulance Service operator instructed Mr Edwards on CPR until paramedics arrived, but Mr Campbell was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Health and Safety Executive inspector concluded Mr Campbell had failed to use the appropriate roof ladder, despite having one with him. Instead he used a ladder at the side of the house, then walked across the ridge to reach the chimney. It is believed he lost his footing and fell.

Coroner Pat McGurgan described the case as "undoubtedly a tragedy involving a much-loved husband and father".

"The role of the coroner is to highlight the dangers inherent in some tasks," he said.

"A chimney sweep is a very difficult job, with inherent risks.

"It is imperative those taking on such tasks exercise all caution and care. It is clear to me Mr Campbell had accessed the ridge without using a roof ladder, even though he had one.

"We will never know why he chose not to use it."

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