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Safety failings land Jarrow firm in court

Date:
20 May 2014

An engineering company has been fined for safety failings which exposed workers to serious risks of injury from a fall.

UTS Engineering Ltd was undertaking extensive repairs to the roof of its premises during September and October 2013. Work had already been carried out by one of its employees, to inspect the roof, re-felt the canteen roof and clear the gutters.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an inspection at the premises on 10 October 2013 following a complaint and identified the roof work was being carried out in an unsafe manner with employees at risk of falling from unprotected edges or through fragile roof materials.

HSE immediately issued the company with a Prohibition Notice halting further work at height until adequate fall protection measures were put in place and prosecuted UTS Engineering Ltd for safety breaches.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court today (20 May) heard the work had not been properly planned and was not carried out by a person competent in this type of work.

The HSE investigation found that although the roof contained fragile surfaces, specifically Georgian-wired glass roof lights and vertical lights, UTS Engineering Ltd had not assessed its fragility or produced a safe method for the work to be done.

Workers should have been protected by guard rails to prevent someone falling from the edge, and work near fragile materials should have been carried out from stagings, with either workers protected from falling through the fragile materials or by safety netting underneath the roof.

UTS Engineering Ltd, of Pilgrims Way, Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow, was fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £1,146.80 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the case, HSE Inspector Fiona McGarry said:

“While it is fortunate that no-one was injured during these extensive works, employees working on the roof were exposed unnecessarily to high levels of risk.

“Death and serious injury following falls from the edge of roofs or through fragile materials are all too common and proper planning is vital to ensure the work is carried out safely and the correct precautions are identified and used.”

For more information about working at height safely log onto the website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/index.htm

Notes to Editors

1. 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 (a) properly planned.” 3. Regulation 4(1)(c) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work at height is carried out in a manner which is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe.” 4. HSE news releases are available at www.hse.gov.uk/press.

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