A roofer who risked a serious work accident by working from a ladder footed on a transit van has been fined £4,000.
George Nicholls, 25, discovered his ladder was not long enough to reach the third-storey façade of a shop front on St Marys Road in Southampton on 14 March 2013.
An environmental health officer from the council caught his actions on camera after a tip-off from a member of the public and, following an investigation, he was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on 23 May 2014.
The HSE also prosecuted Norfolk-based Maintenance 24-7 Ltd, which had sub-contracted him the job because it did not have the appropriate equipment or expertise.
Mr Nicholls, trading as Laser Roofing London and South East Roofing Limited, had improvised by placing the ladder fully-extended onto his van and working on it eight metres above ground level with a labourer providing additional footing.
Method ‘fraught’ with risk
This approach was laden with risk, Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard, not only because Mr Nicholls or his labourer could have fallen.
There was no segregation area in place around the work area to prevent people or vehicles from passing beneath or close to the work area, meaning that falling equipment or materials could have struck them.
It was also noted by the HSE that the van was parked over a bus stop on double yellow lines on what was a busy road. This was deemed to be symptomatic of a disregard or lack of awareness.
A pavement licence should have been obtained to enable a segregated working area and a safer way to access the façade would have been to use scaffolding or a mobile elevated platform, the court was told.
Health and safety breaches admitted
Maintenance 24-7 Ltd, of King Street in King’s Lynn, was fined £10,000 with £784 in costs after it admitted a breach of Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and a further breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
Having pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 2(1) and (3(1) of the same Act, Mr Nicholls was ordered to pay £666 in costs in addition to his fine totalling £4,000.
Source: Daily Echo