A roofing firm in Yorkshire has been handed a suspended prison term for failing to protect its workers from falling from height.
Chris Smith of C Smith Roofing has pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to safety breaches that exposed two of its workers to unprotected roof edges.
The contractor has been sentenced to an eight-month jail term, suspended for two years, and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Tania Shiffer said: “Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.”
Inadequate fall prevention
The court heard how the contractor had been hired to carry out roofing repairs at a Northallerton guest house in November 2015.
Mr Smith had erected scaffolding covering the full length of the front of the property. However, a conservatory made it difficult to complete the base of the scaffolding at the rear, and so only partial scaffolding had been erected
In February 2016, health and safety risk managers from North Yorkshire County Council witnessed the contravention from an office window.
They could see two workers being exposed to a drop of up to seven metres (23 feet) with no adequate fall protection measures – such as scaffolding – in place.
Ms Shiffer added: “There were not suitable or sufficient measures in place to prevent the risk of a person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.
“This is a good example of HSE working closely with local authority partners, helping Great Britain work well.”
A costly risk
Guidance from the HSE website advises employers to ensure work is properly planned, and the right type of equipment for any job involving working at height.
Chris Smith, recorded as living at Clarkson Court, Malpas Road, Northallerton in North Yorkshire, has pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (3) of the Work at height Regulations 2005.
He has been ordered to pay £5800 costs in addition to his suspended prison term and community service.
Reference: Health and Safety Executive
Date Published: October 3, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown