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Safety failings land firm in court

12 June 2015

A metal processing company has been fined for safety failings which exposed a worker to a serious risk of injury from a fall.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was sent footage by a member of the public of a young employee fixing a workshop roof without any protection from falls in place.    

The employee was 17 when he was spotted working on the roof of Harbex Metal Processing Ltd’s High Oak Hill Works in Sittingbourne, Kent on 4 July 2014.

He had been lifted onto the roof in a metal cage but had climbed out to make repairs. There were no safety measures in place to prevent him from falling off or through the roof.

HSE immediately issued the company with a Prohibition Notice preventing further use of the metal cage and prosecuted Harbex Metal Processing Ltd for safety breaches.

Maidstone Magistrates’ Court yesterday (11 June) heard the work had been planned by employees who were not trained in this type of work and had not identified the risk of falling from or through the roof. In addition, an untrained and unsupervised young person had been tasked to carry out the work.

Harbex Metal Processing Ltd, of Bloors Lane, Rainham, Gillingham, Kent, was fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £2,300 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and Regulation 19(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Speaking after the case, HSE Principal Inspector Joanne Williams said:

“While it is fortunate that no-one was injured during these works, the employee working on the roof was unnecessarily exposed to danger. If the employee had fallen off or through the roof it could have easily been fatal.

“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

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.

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. Regulation 19(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states: “Every employer shall ensure that young persons employed by him are protected at work from any risks to their health or safety which are a consequence of their lack of experience, or absence of awareness of existing or potential risks or the fact that young persons have not yet fully matured.”

4. HSE news releases are available at

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