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ROOF REFURB FIRM FINED OVER POOR PLANNING

Neighbouring company informed HSE of fragile roof and other dangers

CJ Coatings Ltd has been prosecuted after HSE inspectors found work being undertaken unsafely at height on a Warwickshire industrial estate. The building refurb contractor was engaged to “grind down and paint” roof sheet edges on the building.

Warwickshire Magistrates heard (21 March) that the health and safety manager in an adjacent building alerted HSE to concerns about the way the work was being carried out.

HSE inspectors visited the site on 7 September 2011 and stopped the work because of the imminent dangers namely:

  • Assessment – 24 potentially fragile roof lights not identified as safe to work on;
  • Controls – no protection to stop falls through rooflights, no netting etc beneath the roof;
  • Edges – protection on scaffolding surrounding the building was inadequate; and
  • Guardrails – no lower guard rail or toe-boards.

Magistrates heard that in the days before inspectors arrived on site workers had been operating underneath the guard rails at the far edge of the pitched roof of the industrial unit, alongside a drop of more than 6m. Material and equipment had been seen falling or being thrown from the roof.

Unsafe work not an isolated incident

CJ Coatings Ltd, of Mill Street, Bedford, was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £3,500 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Paul Thompson said:

“The unsafe work HSE inspectors witnessed when they visited the site was not an isolated incident; it had been going on for several days. CJ Coatings failed to properly plan and supervise the work, allowing a whole catalogue of errors to occur, and in doing so put lives at risk.

Work at height is a high risk activity. There is a need to adequately plan for such work and ensure those plans are fully implemented and monitored effectively to ensure the safety of those involved.”

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