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FIRST FINES UNDER H&S OFFENCES ACT

Health and Offences Act starts to hit the bottom line for offenders

1st Response Roofing Ltd, of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, has been fined over £23k and ordered to pay almost £3.5k in prosecution costs following three safety breaches in January 2009 after a roofer was injured when he fell 4m through an industrial roof.

HSE believe the fines are substantially higher than in previous cases of this nature because two of the three breaches occurred shortly after the Health and Safety Offences Act 2008 came into force providing greater sentencing powers to Magistrates. It s thought 1st Response Roofing Ltd are the first company to be fined using powers in the new legislation.

The court heard how the skull of an employee was fractured when he fell through a rooflight during a roof refurbishment project at a garage. There were no coverings in place over the rooflights and employees were not trained how to erect the poorly erected tower scaffold found in use.

HSE Inspector David Welsh commented: “all roof workers at the premises were exposed to risk of injury. The measures in place at the time simply did not amount to a safe system of work and as a result Adam Lambert has sustained long-term injuries, which he has yet to recover from fully. The hazards and risks of working on roofs are well documented.”

Comment: The penalty imposed does appear above the ‘norm’ for cases heard in the Magistrates Court, even where injury has occurred. The size of fines in prosecutions not involving injury may be a better indicator of whether the cost of failing to manage safety is rising due to the new Act.

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