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    Industrial roofing project proceeded despite danger

    A roofing contractor who failed manage work some 9m above ground has been prosecuted after HSE received a complaint about safety during construction of agricultural buildings.

    Contractor Neil Popham, aged 50, was engaged by a farm in Somerset when in May 2013 a the complaint was made to HSE triggering the visit by an Inspector visit.

    The court heard that on the day of the Inspector visit three workers were working on the steel framed building installing roof sheets.

    There was no edge protection to prevent anyone falling from the building and netting to mitigate the effects of any fall was inadequate. In addition, the workmen accessed the roof using a ladder that was not secured to prevent slipping.

    The contractor had been served with HSE enforcement notices relating to safe working at height on previous contracts under his supervision.

    Defendant “more than aware” of the risks

    Neil Popham, of Bridgwater, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £950 in costs.

    HSE Inspector Kate Leftly, speaking after the hearing, said:

    “Falls from height remain one of the most common reasons for injuries and fatalities at work, and it is fortunate that no-one was seriously injured or killed in this case.

    The industry standards expected for work at height on roofs are well known. Having had previous enforcement action Mr Popham was more than aware of the risks but was still prepared to endanger the lives of those working for him.

    It’s crucial that employers make sure work is properly planned, appropriately supervised and that sufficient safety measures are put in place to protect staff.”


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