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Unsafe roof work leads to fine for builders

Date:
12 December 2014

A West Midlands building firm has been fined after twice being spotted carrying out unsafe roof work just days apart. 

An employee of Chohan Builders (West Midlands) Ltd was seen working on the roof of a house in Quinton on 13 June this year, having used a poorly-built tower scaffold to access the roof. 

A Prohibition Notice was served by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as the access to the scaffolding was unsafe and there was no bracing. The notice immediately stopped work on the site until the scaffolding was improved and edge protection or another suitable platform was used. 

However, Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard today (12 Dec) that just five days later, on 18 June, a worker was spotted on a sloping garage roof with again no control measures in place to prevent the worker from falling. A second Prohibition Notice was served on the firm. 

Magistrates were told that although nobody was hurt at either location the fall risk was significant, and that allowing near-identical failings less than a week after the first unsafe practice was identified was wholly irresponsible. 

Chohan Builders (West Midlands) Ltd, of West Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne,  was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £981 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gareth Langston said: “Work at height continues to be a key area for HSE, mainly because unsafe practices while carrying out this type of work continue to cause death and major injury. 

“This company was issued with two Prohibition Notices for essentially the same thing less than a week apart. Luckily, no-one was hurt, but this kind of repeated behavior, which shows a willful ignorance of the dangers of working at height, has to be brought before the court.” 

Work at height is the biggest cause of fatal incidents in the workplace in the UK, and the second biggest cause of serious injuries. For further information about working at height, go to www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/workingatheight.htm

Notes to editors

1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce 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. Regulations 4(1) of Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “Every employer shall ensure that work at height is (a) properly planned; (b) appropriately supervised; and (c) carried out in a manner which is so far as is reasonably practicable safe, and that its planning includes the selection of work equipment in accordance with regulation 7.

 

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