A family is calling for tougher safety rules on how businesses manage apprentices after their young son died while working for a small building firm.
Alfie Perrin, who was 16, died in 2012 after he lost his balance on scaffolding while training as a carpenter with firm Rooftop Rooms.
Alfie was throwing heavy rubbish bags off the scaffolding and into a skip below, but tragically lost his balance and fell 30 feet, suffering a serious head injury. He died in hospital the same day.
Speaking to the BBC’s Newsbeat programme, Alfie’s father Mark said: “I thought in my head that the scaffold Alfie was on would have had a gate, would have had a chute, and would have had a ladder.”
“I can’t possibly see how he would have fell from there.”
Mr Perrin explained that the teenager was to throw the rubbish down to the skip in a way sometimes known on a building site as “bombing”.
“What you would normally do is get it to shoulder height, as if you were putting a shot,” he said. “But because Alfie was so small and inexperienced, he’s swung it like a pendulum, let go of the bag, and the weight of the bag took him off the scaffold with the bag.”
Now, the family want there to be tougher laws put in place, especially for smaller companies.
“You stand and look at a scaffold on a big company; they’ve all got harnesses on, they’re all clipped on. When you get to the smaller companies, no-one seems to take any notice of them.”
Speaking to Newsbeat, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said that it often sees problems with smaller businesses in the building trade not following the rules. However, it said that it can’t specifically ban individual practises like throwing rubbish, because in some circumstances it might be perfectly safe to do so.
Current guidelines state that businesses must ensure apprentices are as safe as any other employee by conducting a risk assessment.
Rooftop Rooms admitted breaching health and safety law and will be sentenced later this month.