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PROSECUTION OF ROOFWORK CLIENT

Client and contractor prosecuted after roof fall

 

A construction client and contractor have been prosecuted after a worker fell from a roof whilst carrying out repair work. The roofing contractor Michael Stephenson of Bradford was ordered to pay nearly £3k in fines and costs and the client, Calderbrook Estates of West Yorkshire, a sum of nearly £6k. The client was prosecuted for a breach of the Work at Height Regulations by their act or default, by virtue of Section 36(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Calderbrook Estates partly organised the work and failed to supervise and monitor the system of work in place. A roofer working for Stephenson fell 4m and fractured both his heels when the ladder he was using became detached from the roof ridge. After the hearing, HSE Inspector David Welsh said: “There were problems with this work from the start of the job, and none of them were dealt with in a suitable way. The incident need never have happened if the correct systems had been and planned and put in place.

Comment: The client in this case was prosecuted by way of HSW Act Section 36 in that by his act or default he caused the Work at Height Regulation offence by the roofing contractor. The offence took place in October 2007 and it is therefore surprising that the CDM 2007 Regulation 9 client duty was not used in this case. Under CDM clients must take reasonable steps to ensure that arrangements for managing such projects are suitable throughout the project.

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