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Roofing company in court for ignoring safety risks

Date:
10 May 2013

A roofing company has been fined for exposing workers to serious risk of injury at a site in Deeside, Flintshire.

Mold Magistrates’ Court heard today (10 May) that Merseyside firm Aston Roofing North West Ltd had been contracted to replace the roofs of light industrial units at Connah’s Quay, Deeside. The work involved replacing fragile asbestos cement roof sheets with metal roof cladding.

On 1 November 2012 an off-duty inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) spotted two men employed by the contractors on the roof of one of the units.
He could see that no safeguards had been put in place to prevent a fall from height while this hazardous work was being carried out. He immediately took steps to ensure a prohibition notice was served on the company to ensure all work on the roofs was stopped.

The court heard that HSE found numerous ‘fall from height’ risks at the site including access onto the roof via an untied ladder, no safeguards to prevent a fall through the fragile roofing material and nothing to prevent a fall from the edges of the roof. The workers were some four to five metres from the ground.

Aston Roofing North West Ltd, Kenilworth Drive, Pensby, Wirral, Merseyside pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Chris Wilcox said:

"The dangers of working at height are well known in the roofing industry yet poor safety standards and lack of safeguards still exist among some contractors.

"These employees were working on fragile roofs and yet Aston Roofing North West had neglected to implement even the most basic safety measures to minimise the risks of falls. It is very fortunate that nobody was injured.

"The prosecution should serve as a reminder to all building contractors to ensure working at height is properly planned and robust safety precautions taken. Employers have a legal duty to manage safety and failing to do so too often ends in tragedy."

Further information about working safely at height can be found on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/falls

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states that "Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury."

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