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Freight trailer firm fined for dangerous work at height

Date:
14 September 2015

A freight trailer manufacturer has been fined for dangerous work at height after a worker fell and injured his hand whilst working on a fragile roof.

Gray & Adams Limited were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after 50 year old John Strachan suffered a fractured hand when he fell on the roof of the brake department on 11 December 2013 at the company’s Fraserburgh site.

Peterhead Sheriff Court heard that the roof was entirely made up of asbestos cement sheeting with a number of roof lights but no fragile roof warning notices were affixed to the building.

An HSE investigation found that installation, maintenance and cleaning work had been carried out on the roof over a period of time with insufficient fall prevention measures in place.

Gray & Adams Limited, of South Road, Fraserburgh, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 6(3) of The Working at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £5,300.

Speaking after sentencing, HSE inspector Niall Miller said:

“Precautions for working on fragile surfaces should have been taken by the company. Everyone within the maintenance team were fully aware that the roof was fragile.

“The risk assessment Gray & Adams had in place for working on roofs included the control measure ‘wear safety harness’ however this building roof had no system in place or any means for attaching a harness. The use of ‘crawling boards’ was not suitable or sufficient.

“John Strachan was fortunate to have fallen on the roof itself. If he had fallen through it he could have been more seriously injured, or even killed.

“Following this incident a new risk assessment for roof work was carried out by the company and this identified the need to investigate further fall protection measures.”

A quarter of all workers killed during work at height involve falls through fragile materials, such as roof lights and asbestos cement roofing sheets.

HSE’s website contains information and guidance on working at height www.hse.gov.uk/work-at-height/index.htm

Notes to editors 

  1. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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. More about the legislation referred to in this case can be found at: www.legislation.gov.uk/
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

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