HSE prosecuted after member of public provided site photograph
A specialist roofing company and its two directors have been sentenced after admitting working unsafely at height on a hotel development in central Manchester during major refurbishment and extension works in March 2015.
The prosecution was initiated after a member of public witnessed and photographed the unsafe work and contacted HSE.
Manchester Magistrates Court heard that the photograph showed Mr Jake Clarke, one of two directors for Enviroply Roofing Limited. Fellow director, Mr Aaron Hepworth was also witnessed walking along the beam to pass something to Mr Clarke, then walking back again. There was nothing in place to prevent or mitigate a fall from the beam.
Mr Clarke and Mr Hepworth put their lives at risk as they could have fallen one storey onto timber beams below.
Running risks to submit invoice early
HSE investigators found that a full-time scaffolder was on site and employed to erect any scaffolding required by contractors. However, on this occasion Enviroply and the directors chose to “rush the job in order to submit their invoice earlier”.
The defendants failed to take the proper precautions to manage the risk of a significant fall from height although there was adequate provision on site to provide them with scaffolding and safe working platforms.
- Enviroply Roofing Limited – of Unit 20b, Yarrow Business Centre, Yarrow Rd, Chorley pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates Court to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £13,300 with £1160.50 costs.
- Jake Joseph Clarke – of Leyland, Preston pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates Court to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £1100 with £1160.50 costs.
- Aaron Paul Hepworth – of Prestolee Road, Radcliffe pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates Court to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £2100 with £1160.50 costs.
HSE Inspector Matt Greenly said after the case:
“Enviroply Roofing Limited had a duty to protect any employees, even the directors, from a risk of a fall from height.
Mr Clarke and Mr Hepworth in their position as directors recognised that their choices on that day placed themselves at a serious risk of death or life changing injury and admitted as much for themselves and their company. They only realised afterwards that running those risks in order to submit an invoice early was a very unnecessary, considering how serious the consequences could have been.
It is pure luck that no-one was injured or killed. I would like to thank the people who reported these concerns to us as they have been instrumental in saving the lives of these men. It is hoped that other construction workers will see these cases as a warning that HSE will act robustly to concerns received and perhaps they will take a little more time to protect themselves on their next site.”