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INDUSTRIAL ROOF BUILT WITHOUT PROPER PRECAUTIONS

Contractor fined for ignoring safety during roof erection

A building contractor has been fined after work took place on a barn roof with nothing in place to guard against a fall. Three workmen were at risk of falling some 8m from the roof until the work was spotted by a passing HSE Inspector in July 2013.

Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard (27 Jan) that the Inspector was passing the farm in where a new barn was being erected. He saw the men installing roof sheets without any means of preventing or mitigating a fall from the perimeter of the steel frame or from the leading edge of the roof sheets.

A Prohibition Notice was issued preventing any further work at height until safety measures were put in place to protect the workers. HSE investigators revealed that Ian Pitman was contracted to construct the barn and employed the three workers.

Neglected to implement basic safety measures

Ian Pitman, of Honeyknobb Hill, Kington St Michael, Chippenham, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £735 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Ian Whittles said:

“Ian Pitman neglected to implement basic safety measures to minimise the risks of falls, despite having been the subject of formal enforcement action by HSE on the inadequate planning of working at height on a previous occasion.

The dangers of working at height are well-known in the construction industry yet poor safety standards and lack of safeguards still exist among some contractors.

For the last ten years or so there has been a significant increase in the number of incidents involving falls from the roofs agricultural buildings. This prosecution should serve as a reminder to all contractors to properly plan any work at height and make sure robust safety precautions are in place.

All employers have a legal duty to manage safety and failing to do so can end in tragedy.”

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