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Builder fell to his death at Blackburn building site
6:00am Thursday 5th December 2013 in News
A BUILDER plummeted to his death while working on a site which had no safety regulations in place.
Father-of-two Ivars Bahamis suffered fatal head injuries when he fell 30ft from a platform at a former Blackburn mill.
A jury at Blackburn Coroner’s court heard how Mr Bahamis had asked for work from Umar Shafi at the former Canal Works, in Manner Sutton Street.
The Health and Safety executive is now set to consider its verdict of accidental death when deciding whether to take any further action against the contractor Tameem Shafi.
Mr Bahamis, who had previously worked at the site cash in hand, then used a scissor lift to take him to the roof despite undergoing no risk assessment and not being made to use a safety harness.
The three-day inquest heard Mr Bahamis plunged from the platform and was pronounced dead at the scene, but it was unclear what caused him to fall.
The Health and Safety executive is now set to consider the verdict when deciding whether to take any further action against the contractor Tameem Shafi.
Reading out the jury’s judgement, coroner Michael Singleton said: “Ivars Bahamis fell from the mill roof while working onto the mill floor and to his death.
“He was working without any risk assessment, method statements, safety equipment or safe method of working.”
Mr Shafi’s brother Umar, a part-time structural engineering student at Blackburn College, told the inquest he had been cleaning and tidying at the former mill when Mr Bahamis came looking for work.
He had done shifts there before, but Mr Shafi told the court that on this occasion he had said there were none available.
However the jury rejected this claim after hearing statements from other men who said they had been employed in similar circumstances.
Mr Shafi told the inquest said Mr Bahamis had continued to hang around the mill.
At that point Mr Shafi said he had gone up in the scissor lift alone in order to check how many and what size bolts he would need to fix a bracket on the ‘knackered’ roof.
He told the hearing he then left the building site unsecured to go to a DIY store.
When he arrived back around 30 minutes later, he said Mr Bahamis was on the floor in front of the scissor lift.
The court was also told that Mr Shafi delayed in calling the emergency services and said in his statement that he had called his brother Ibrahim first for help.
He later told the court that he had in fact called his other brother Tameem.
But Mr Singleton said that calling an ambulance sooner would not have saved Mr Bahamis.
In summing up Mr Singleton said there were two possible explanations as to how My Bahamis, who was born in the coastal city of Jurmala, Latvia, fell.
He said: “The one thing that everybody is agreed upon is that the support legs on the scissor lift were engaged.
“In which case, there was no limit as to how high the platform could go and it is highly illogical that if you could take the platform higher, you would then choose to get greater elevation by standing on the rail.
“That being the case, it seems to me that essentially there are only two explanations - that Mr Bahamis is stood on top of the wall and it is from that he falls or he is trying to go from the scissor lift itself onto the wall or the other way around.”
Tameem Shafi was served with a prohibition notice two days after the accident in January 2012 preventing work on the roof due to unsafe systems of work and unsuitable work at height equipment.
Mr Bahamis’s family, who are still in Latvia, will now be informed of the jury’s findings.
His son Arnolds told the Lancashire Telegraph shortly after his father’s death: “He was very talented and passionate about his work.
“My father was a trained carpenter and served in the Latvian Army.
“He was a good man and a good father.”