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CLIENT ROOF MAINTENANCE SYSTEM LACKING

Maintenance work on fragile roof without sufficient precautions

Freight trailer manufacturer, Gray & Adams Limited, has been fined for dangerous work at height after a worker fell whilst working on a fragile roof. John Strachan, aged 50, fractured his hand when he fell on the roof of the company brake department in Scotland in December 2013.

Peterhead Sheriff Court heard that the roof comprised asbestos cement sheeting with a number of roof lights. There were no fragile roof warning notices affixed to the building.

HSE investigators found that installation, maintenance and cleaning work had been carried out on the roof over a period of time with insufficient fall prevention measures in place.

No system or means to arrest a fall

Gray & Adams Limited, of Fraserburgh, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 6(3) of The Working at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £5,300.

Speaking after sentencing, HSE inspector Niall Miller said:

“Precautions for working on fragile surfaces should have been taken by the company. Everyone within the maintenance team were fully aware that the roof was fragile.

The risk assessment Gray & Adams had in place for working on roofs included the control measure ‘wear safety harness’ however this building roof had no system in place or any means for attaching a harness. The use of ‘crawling boards’ was not suitable or sufficient.

John Strachan was fortunate to have fallen on the roof itself. If he had fallen through it he could have been more seriously injured, or even killed. Following this incident a new risk assessment for roof work was carried out by the company and this identified the need to investigate further fall protection measures.”

A quarter of all workers who died during work at height involve falls through fragile materials, such as roof lights and asbestos cement roofing sheets.

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