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PASSER-BY PHOTOGRAPH TO HSE LANDS COMPANY IN COURT

High visibility jackets and helmets served only to highlight lack of fall protection

Davidson Williams (Merseyside) Ltd has been fined after workmen were found repairing a leaking roof (at some 16m above the ground) without suitable safety measures to stop them falling or to prevent them from being injured if they fell in November 2011.

The prosecution took place after a concerned member of the public sent photographs to HSE.

Wirral Magistrates heard there were around 400 fragile rooflights which could have failed if the workmen had stepped on the rooflights. The men wore hard hats and high-visibility jackets although neither would have saved their lives if they had fallen through one of the fragile panels or from the edge of the roof.

Firms must avoid temptation to cut corners to reduce costs

Davidson Williams (Merseyside) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to take measures to prevent workers being injured in a fall. The company, of Corporation Road in Birkenhead, was fined £3,500 and ordered to pay £1,500 towards the cost of the prosecution on 5 July 2012.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Christina Goddard said:

“There were several ways this work could have been carried out safely, including using harnesses, installing netting under the fragile panels, or erecting scaffolding. But none of these methods was chosen by the company.

Instead, the three employees were left to repair the leaking roof without any protection to stop them being injured in fall off the edge or through one of the hundreds of clear plastic panels.

There is always the temptation for firms to cut corners to reduce costs, but companies which do this risk putting their employees’ lives in danger. It is only through good fortune that no one was seriously injured or even killed in this case.”

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