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INDUSTRIAL ROOFING CONTRACTOR AND DIRECTOR FINED

Passing inspector spotted fragile roof fall risk on over-roofing project

BRC Industrial Roofing Specialists Ltd and its managing director have been prosecuted following work on an industrial roof without appropriate precautions. The offences were discovered when an HSE inspector observed the work as he drove past the scene in January 2011.

Crawley Magistrates’ Court heard the company were contracted to ‘oversheet’ a fibre cement roof at Independent Business Park in East Grinstead. The oversheeting involved installation of a metal grid to the existing roof to which the new metal roofsheets were fixed.

No means were provided and used to stop the workmen falling through, or from, the the fragile roof or to arrest their fall.

Lightweight staging boards had been issued but were not being used to walk on as intended. One man was observed walking on the metal grid whilst the other was standing on the fragile asbestos cement roof.

A Prohibition Notice was issued stopping any further work and an Improvement Notice was served to ensure a risk assessment and correct procedures were in place before work could commence again. On every previous visit to the firm HSE issued Prohibition Notices for similar matters.

Failure to plan and supervise the work

Investigation showed that work was not properly planned or appropriately supervised and it was not carried out in a manner that was reasonably safe. BRC Industrial Roofing Specialists Limited of Kings Yard, Kings Road, Long Ditton Surrey, pleaded guilty to Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The firm was fined a total of £2,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

The company’s managing director, Lee Berbridge, of the same address, pleaded guilty to Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined a total of £3,500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,653.

HSE’s Inspector Russell Beckett said:

Working on roofs is a high-risk activity. Nearly a quarter of all roofers are killed in falls from height. Falls through fragile materials, such as rooflights and asbestos cement roofing sheets, account for more of these deaths than anything else.

Employees who work on fragile roofs without the right equipment risk not knowing if their next step could be their last. It is sheer luck that in this case the two men were not severely injured or killed.”

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