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REGULATOR RUMBLES ROGUE ROOF CLEANING OPERATION

Firm fined after worker found balancing dangerously on house roof

M & D Roof Coatings Ltd has been ordered to pay over £17,000 in fines and prosecution costs after roof power washing was undertaken at an unprotected edge.

During routine visits in Lymm, Cheshire on 5 May 2010, HSE Inspectors found a workman power washing a sloping roof. The work was photographed showing the man 5m above the ground on the roof of a house.

Inspectors issued a prohibition notice stopping work until scaffolding, edge protection or other safety equipment had been provided.

How contractor expected work to be done was “incredible” 

M&D Roof Coatings Ltd from Sale was found guilty of breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 in failing to make sure the work was planned and carried out safely. A fine £10,000 was imposed along with an order to pay prosecution costs of £7,269 on 14 March 2011.

HSE Inspector John Ellis said:

“It’s incredible that workers were expected to power wash a roof while standing on it, without any scaffolding or edge protection to stop them falling.

Working on a roof without safety precautions is dangerous enough, but the risk of falling was increased by the fact that moss and other detritus were being washed off the roof. One slip and the worker would have fallen to the ground, resulting in him being seriously injured or even killed.

Falls from height are among the biggest causes of workplace deaths in the UK. Roofing firms should therefore ensure that they have safe systems of work in place to protect their employees and others.”

Comment

The cleaning and treatment of domestic roofs has been a growth area in recent years. However, it is common to see the work being undertaken without adequate precautions. Prosecutions and financial costs on this scale imposed in this case may go some way to promoting better standards of safety.

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