Firm’s roof work put employees in danger

Staff were left in danger of being injured in a fall after being asked to carry out work on the roof of an engineering firm’s premises, a court heard.

Jarrow-based UTS Engineering Ltd was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,146.80 after admitting two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard the firm was in the midst of carrying out extensive roof repairs when the premises were inspected by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on October 10, 2013 following a complaint.

The investigation found the work was being done in an unsafe way that put workers at risk of falling through fragile surfaces or from the roof’s unprotected edges.

The HSE, prosecuting, told magistrates that the firm hadn’t assessed the roof’s fragility or provided employees with a safe way to do the work by installing guard rails, stagings or safety netting. The roof included Georgian-wired glass roof lights as well as vertical lights.

At the time of the inspection, the court heard, work had already been carried out to replace the felt on a canteen roof, clear out gutters and inspect the rest of the roof.

‘Fortunate nobody was injured’

Following the investigation the executive issued a Prohibition Notice to stop the company from carrying out any more work at height until it had put safety measures in place, the court was told.

After the court hearing HSE inspector Fiona McGarry said it had been lucky that nobody was injured during the repair work, adding that the risk employees were put at had been “unnecessarily” high.

The inspector said far too many people are killed or seriously injured at work in falls, either from the edge of roofs or through fragile surfaces.

She added that it is crucial that firms identify and provide the right safety measures to make sure that jobs carried out at height are done safely.

Experts at Accident Advice Helpline can help people who have been hurt in a slip, trip or fall to claim compensation for their injuries.

Source: Shield Gazette

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