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Wirral builder photographed risking lives

Date:
26 September 2014

A Wirral builder was caught on camera risking the lives of his workers on a house roof, a court has heard. 

Ronald Steven King, known as Steve, and two other men were seen on the roof of a detached house in Kingsley, Cheshire, without any measures in place to prevent them being injured in a fall. 

An inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who visited the site following a complaint by a member of the public, also found the workers had to jump over a one-metre gap from a scaffolding tower to reach the roof. 

Steve King and another worker on a house roof in Kingsley

Mr King was prosecuted by HSE following the inspection of the work on the four-bedroomed house on Brookside on 29 April 2013. 

Chester Magistrates’ Court heard that the 61-year-old had been hired to re-roof the property, including replacing slates and fitting insulation, and had begun work on the project two weeks earlier. 

A scaffolding tower had been erected in a neighbouring garden but there was a large gap from the scaffolding to the house roof. There were also no scaffolding boards or other protection around the edge of the roof to prevent workers falling up to four and a half metres. 

Mr King, of Airlie Road in Hoylake, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £2,457 in prosecution costs on 25 September 2014 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to put measures in place to prevent falls. 

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Kevin Jones said: “Mr King is an experienced roofer and had taken on a major project to re-roof a detached house but he failed to make sure basic safety measures were in place. 

“He not only put his own life at risk but also the lives of two of the workers he employed by asking them to jump from the scaffolding to the roof, and by not providing protection around the edge of the roof. 

“The risks from working at height are well known in the construction industry but Mr King ignored the dangers. If we hadn’t been alerted to the work by a member of the public, then I dread to think what might have happened.” 

Information on working safely at height is available at 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 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 states: “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.” 

3. HSE news releases are available at press.hse.gov.uk

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