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PROSECUTION FOLLOWS FAILURE TO ASSESS ROOFWORK RISK

Roofing contractor lands in court after workers found at risk from falling 

A Merseyside roofing firm has been sentenced after it allowed two employees to work dangerously on the roof of a detached house in Wirral. 

Furber Roofing Ltd was prosecuted after an HSE inspector spotted workmen carrying out roof and chimney repairs on a house in January 2010. The men were working nearly five metres above the ground, with no scaffolding or edge protection around the roof to prevent a fall.

Magistrates heard that the company had been served with a prohibition notice less than three months earlier regarding a similar roofwork incident.

Firm fine set at 0.25% of annual turnover

Furber Roofing was found guilty of two health and safety offences after it failed to carry out a risk assessment, or take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent a fall. The company, which employs 18 workers and has an annual turnover of £750,000, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 on 28 October 2010.

HSE Inspector Nicholas Mostyn said:

“This prosecution arises out of a lack of planning for the work, and resulted in the lives of two employees at Furber Roofing being put at risk.

The company had provided a tower scaffold for their employees but it couldn’t be used to carry out the work because of the garage attached to the house. They would have known this if they had properly assessed and planned the work in advance.

Every job is different and companies therefore need to make sure safety measures, specific to each site, are implemented. Each year, 11 roofers are killed as the result a fall. It is only luck that neither of Furber Roofing’s employees were injured on this occasion.”

Comment

HSE are increasingly initiating legal proceedings where risk and previous warnings suggests that such action is appropriate. The small fine relative to turnover in this case does little to encourage others towards improved compliance.   

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