A specialist roofing and cladding company has been sentenced after an employee suffered serious injuries when he fell through an asbestos roof whilst undertaking gutter cleaning and roof repairs.
North Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court heard that on 1 March 2017, DPM Industrial Roofing (UK) Limited (DPM), was engaged by PD Edenhall, to undertake work on the fragile pitched roof on units at its premises in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. The work involved cleaning valley gutters and over-sheeting six damaged asbestos roof sheets with corrugated metal sheets.
Two DPM employees accessed the roof via a cherry picker and proceeded to clean the first valley gutter which was 35m long and two feet wide.
During the work one of the men stepped off the crawling board and onto the fragile asbestos cement roof, which gave way causing him to fall 7.5 metres to the concrete floor below. He fractured his spine in two places and also fractured his pelvis, shoulder and rib.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the method of work was unsafe. There was no fall protection on either side of the valley gutter to prevent the workers falling through the pitched fragile roof and no fall protection at the end of the valley gutter to prevent them falling off the roof. This unsafe method of work was repeated when the men cleaned the second valley gutter. The risk assessment was not suitable and sufficient.
Although it identified working on a fragile roof as ‘high risk’ it failed to identify falls from a leading edge and did not include adequate control measures to prevent falls through or from the roof.
DPM Industrial Roofing (UK) Limited, of Sneyd Business Park, Sneyd Street, Stoke on Trent pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,454.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Susan Ritchie said: “This serious incident could easily have been prevented had appropriate control measures been considered and put in place to prevent falls from height.”