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High dangers caught on camera

Date:
2 December 2014

A Berkshire construction firm has been fined after three workers were photographed on a roof and ladder platform in Windsor without any safety measures in place.

Able Building & Roofing Services Ltd, which operates across the South East, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at a two-storey house in Windsor between 16-18 October 2013.

Reading Magistrates’ Court heard (1 Dec) that the householder, who hired the firm for roofing work, was so concerned by the obvious dangers faced by the workers, he took photos and sent them to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which investigated.

The photographs showed workers using an unguarded ladder platform that had not been erected properly, and also working on top of the main roof without any means of preventing falls.

HSE told the court that the company had failed to plan the work at height, which is inherently hazardous, leaving their workers without adequate protection against falls of up to six metres.

Able Building and Roofing Services Ltd, of Nine Mile Road, Finchampstead, near Wokingham, was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £986 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Dominic Goacher said:

“The company put the lives of three of their workers at risk by carrying out the roofing job in a totally unsafe manner. Anyone falling from the roof of a two-storey house would likely be killed and that type of disregard for safety is totally unacceptable.

“Able Building and Roofing failed to follow basic, and well-known, safety precautions and heed the guidance available to roofing companies.

“If the work had been planned correctly, more suitable equipment, such as a scaffold, and effective fall protection measures would have been in place. Where practical when working on roofs, there should be fully-guarded platforms or good edge protection in place to stop falls happening.”

Information on working safely at height is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height

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 4(1)(a) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work at height is properly planned.”
  3. Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 state: “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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