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EMPLOYEE FINED OVER FAILURE TO ERECT SCAFFOLDING

Workman prosecuted after co-worker and public put at risk by ‘astonishing’ act

A roofworker employed by Roofcare Ltd has been prosecuted after a labourer was spotted using a gas burner on a house roof without any measures to stop him being injured in a fall.

Daniel Loftus was photographed at a height of 5m on the roof of a terraced house in Wallasey whilst his co-worker held the burner to seal the roof. HSE prosecuted Mr Loftus after a passing inspector noticed the unsafe work in November 2011.

Wirral Magistrates heard that the men used a ladder, resting against the guttering, to reach the roof. Mr Loftus, 32, failed to cordon off the busy footpath below thereby putting members of the public at risk of being injured by falling debris or tools.

The court was told Mr Loftus ignored the job sheet he had been given by Roofcare Ltd. The job sheet instructed that scaffolding was to be used for the work. The scaffolding was in his van yet he failed to unload and erect it.

Employee chose to ignore instructions despite having scaffolding in van

Daniel Loftus pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to take reasonable care of the health and safety of other people while at work. He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £600 in prosecution costs on 31 May 2012.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Chris Hatton said:

“It’s astonishing that Mr Loftus was told by his employer what he needed to do to carry out the work safely, yet chose to ignore this despite having scaffolding in the back of his van.

Instead, he allowed a labourer to hold a gas burner while standing on the roof, without any measures in place to stop him falling to the ground. Both the labourer and passersby on the pavement directly below were put in danger as a result.

This case should act as a warning to roofers that if they put lives at risk by not using the proper safety equipment, then they could find themselves in court.”

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