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CLIENT FAILED TO CHECK CONTRACTOR COMPETENCE

Contractor receives prison sentence and client fined

A roofing contractor and a national timber supplier have been sentenced for serious safety breaches after a workman died when he fell over 8m on a project in London on 22 May 2012. Andrew Ward, 44, died when he fell through a fragile roof at the Howarth Timber site in Tottenham whilst working for Paul Hardy (Hardy Construction T/A).

Southwark Crown Court heard that Howarth Timber hired Paul Hardy to fix a leaking fibre cement roof at the site. However, the company failed to check the competence of Mr Hardy before work began or to properly assessed the risks associated with the job. Paul Hardy did not plan the work adequately and failed to provide a risk assessment or method statement detailing how he would carry it out.

An incorrectly-erected tower scaffold was provided with an untied ladder. He also failed to provide a suitable working platform, covering or guardrails despite the work being carried out near a fragile roof.

MEWP could have provided safe system 

Paul Hardy, of Belvedere, Kent, was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for 12 months and fined £3,000 with £11,756 in full costs after admitting breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Howarth Timber Building Supplies Ltd of Leeds, was fined £93,750 and ordered to pay full costs of £12,580 for a breach Section 3(1) of the same Act. .

Investigating HSE inspector Chris Tilley said:

“Falls through fragile roofs are sadly all too common but this tragic incident could have been avoided if adequate checks had been carried out on the contractor’s competence, the work been planned properly and carried out with the correct equipment. The dangers of working at height are well-known in the construction industry and guidance is widely available.

The work here should ideally have been undertaken without the need to directly access the roof, for example by using a Mobile Elevated Working Platform, or, if that is not possible, with safety measures to minimise the risk of falling such as or netting, crawling boards and fall arrest harnesses.

Falls from height continue to be the most common cause of fatality to workers and accounted for 29% of deaths reported to HSE in 2013/14 – meaning that 19 workers lost their lives in falls that were avoidable.”

 

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