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Roofers fined after being spotted working unsafely

Date:
28 April 2014

A West Midlands roofing firm has been fined after a passing safety official spotted an employee working unsafely at height without any fall protection.

Water Orton-based GS Roofing Specialists LLP was prosecuted today (28 April) today following the chance encounter at the Kelvin Way Trading Estate in West Bromwich on 26 September 2013.

Sandwell Magistrates’ Court heard that an inspector for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was on the industrial estate when he spotted two workers on a fragile roof of a nearby business unit. He noted they working on the roof without any adequate fall prevention or fall mitigation measures in place.

A subsequent HSE investigation found that GS Roofing Specialists LLP had prepared a risk assessment and method statement for this work that stated that guard rails and netting would be used. They weren’t, and suitable boarding, platforms, or coverings were also overlooked.

GS Roofing Specialists LLP, of Attleboro Lane, Water Orton, was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £1,090 costs after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Gareth Langston said:

“The dangers that the workers faced were so great and immediately obvious when I witnessed the safety breaches being committed.

“GS Roofing Specialists LLP blatantly ignored the risk assessment’s advice for fall protection to be in place, leaving workers exposed to an unnecessary risk of a serious or even fatal injury.

“Working at height is a high-risk activity. There is a need to adequately plan for such work and ensure those plans are fully implemented and monitored effectively to ensure the safety of those involved.”

Last year more than 6,300 employees suffered major injuries after falling from height at work.  Working on roofs account for almost a quarter of all workers who are killed in falls from heights, and falls through fragile materials like sky lights account for more of these deaths than any other single cause.  Many others are seriously injured and are left with life-changing disabilities. Information on preventing falls is available 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 9(2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Where it is not reasonably practicable to carry out work safely and under appropriate ergonomic conditions without passing across or near, or working on, from or near, a fragile surface, every employer shall (a) ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that suitable and sufficient platforms, coverings, guard rails or similar means of support or protection are provided and used so that any foreseeable loading is supported by such supports or borne by such protection; (b) where a risk of a person at work falling remains despite the measures taken under the preceding provisions of this regulation, take suitable and sufficient measures to minimise the distances and consequences of his fall.”

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