Roofing firm caught on camera risking lives

A roofing firm and its managing director have been fined after they allowed workers onto a house roof in Tyldesley to use a jet washer without safety measures in place.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was alerted to the dangerous work at a semi-detached house by a member of the public on 6 June 2013, who took a photo showing a man standing halfway down the sloping roof using a jet washer to clear moss and other debris.

An HSE inspector visited the site later the same day and immediately issued a Prohibition Notice ordering the workers from the roofing company to come down until scaffolding or other safety improvements had been implemented.

Trafford Magistrates’ Court heard that the Managing Director had visited the site on the morning the work was due to start, and so knew it would be carried out without scaffolding around the edge of the roof.

The company also failed to provide proof that it held Employers’ Liability Insurance – a requirement under UK law – which allows workers to claim compensation if they suffer a workplace injury.

The court was told that the company had previously been served with a Prohibition Notice in 2011 relating to unsafe roof work and so was well aware of the dangers.

The company pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and one breach of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. The company, from Tyldesley, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £2,000 towards the cost of the prosecution on 24 April 2014.

The Managing Director was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,619 after admitting two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Laura Moran said:

“Falls from height are responsible for around a third of workplace deaths every year, with 25 people losing their lives in 2012/13 alone.  I’d therefore like to thank the member of the public who alerted us to the work, as they may well have prevented a serious injury.

“Both the company and the MDl put workers’ lives in danger by allowing them onto a slippery roof without safety measures in place. This meant that workers could have been badly injured if they had slipped and fallen to the ground below.

“If workers had been injured then they may not have been able to claim compensation as the firm also failed to provide us with any proof that it had Employers’ Liability Insurance.”

More information on preventing workplace falls is available by contacting Ashes Associates