An engineering firm has been fined for allowing employees to work on a fragile roof without safety measures in place to prevent a fall from height. A member of the public spotted employees of Todd Engineering, a spray booth specialist based in Rugeley, Staffordshire, installing ventilation ducting on the roof in September last year. The company was subsequently prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for safety failings.
While the risks were obvious, nothing was in place to prevent a roof accident – either falling off the edge of the roof or through it – Redhill Magistrates’ Court was told. Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of deaths at work in the UK and it was only by good fortune that no-one was injured in this incident, the HSE said. Todd Engineering Ltd was fined a total of £10,000 and ordered to pay £4,782 in costs after pleading guilty to an offence under Regulation 4(1)(a) of the Work at Heights Regulations 2005.
Working at height protocol
HSE inspector Denis Bodger says it is essential that all roof work is properly planned by a competent person and that competent workers are clearly instructed on how to carry out the work safely. He adds that it is not acceptable to simply rely on sending the workers to the site and expecting them to carry out the work safely, as was the case here.
Managing work at height follows a strict protocol. Firstly, a risk assessment should be carried out, then precautions taken to ensure everyone is kept safe on site. If roof work is being undertaken, safe access should be planned and measures put in place to prevent falls from edges and openings. More information about safe working at height can be found on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.
Source: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: September 24, 2015
Author: Jonathan Brown