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‘WATCHDOG’ SPARKS INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION

Roofing firm in court after BBC TV probe into quality and workmanship

Renov8 (North West) Ltd and Darren Potts have been prosecuted after TV footage showed workers on top of house roofs using a pressure washer without any measures in place to stop them slipping and falling to the ground below.

Trafford Magistrates heard today (17 January) that the BBC programme Watchdog hired Renov8 to carry out roof cleaning at two bungalows after receiving several complaints about poor workmanship and trading standards issues. The work was filmed on 1 and 21 May 2013 using hidden cameras.

The programme was broadcast the following month showing an employee walking on a sloping roof using a pressure washer to remove moss. Company director Darren Potts was filmed watching the work from the ground. Both men were also shown walking on the roof of the second property in Salford with no scaffolding or other measures in place to prevent them being injured in a fall.

HSE investigators found Renov8 did not have employers’ liability insurance and employee would therefore not have been able to claim compensation if injured.

Lives risked “clambering around slippery roofs”

Renov8 (North West) Ltd and Darren Potts, 39, each pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to put measures in place to prevent a fall. Renov8 also admitted failing to have employers’ liability insurance. The company was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,255 in prosecution costs and Darren Potts was ordered to undertake 200 hours of community service (within 12 months) and pay £1,255 in prosecution costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Matt Greenly said:

“Renov8 should never have allowed work to be carried out on the roofs of the two bungalows without having suitable safety measures in place.

Company director Darren Potts risked not only his own life but the life of an employee by clambering around slippery roofs. Renov8 could easily have hired scaffolding for the work but failed to do this, despite using scaffolding on similar properties in the past.

The company also ignored the law relating to employers’ liability insurance, meaning the employee wouldn’t have been able to claim a penny in compensation if he had been injured.”

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