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Roofing firm in court after worker’s fall

Date:
18 February 2015

A Leicestershire roofing company has been fined after a worker fell more than three metres through a fragile roof light.

The 59-year-old employee of Stormseal Roofing (Nationwide) Ltd, who is from Nuneaton, was over-cladding an asbestos cement sheet roof at premises in Colwick, Nottingham, when the incident happened on 15 April 2013.

Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard today (18 February) he was working from a staging board repairing a damaged sheet when he fell through the adjacent roof light onto a mezzanine below.

He broke his pelvis, left shoulder and left elbow.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Stormseal’s normal method of work was to install netting beneath the roof to stop anyone if they fell. However, the mezzanine underneath the area where they were working was used by the client to store tyres so nets were not used, but no alternative was provided.

There was a risk assessment and a method statement but they had been carried out by someone who had not had any formal training and were generic documents which lacked sufficient detail and did not accurately reflect the conditions on site.

Although Stormseal had contracted a local scaffolder to erect perimeter edge protection around the building, it did not extend around a section of the main roof exposing workers to the risk of falls of around six feet to a lower section.

Stormseal Roofing (Nationwide) Ltd, of Oaks Way Industrial Estate, Station Road, Earl Shilton, was fined £16,000 with £1,783 costs after admitting a breach of Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Linda-Jane Rigby said:

“The risks associated with work at height on or near fragile materials are well known, as are the controls needed to address those risks.

“Stormseal failed to identify the need for alternative measures for preventing or mitigating the consequences of a fall from the leading edge of either the staging boards or the newly-fitted roof sheets. As a result a man suffered painful injuries that could and should have been prevented.”

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. Regulation 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.
  3. HSE news releases are available at http://press.hse.gov.uk

 

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