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    FALL PRECAUTIONS FELL BETWEEN TWO FIRMS

    Contractors fined after workers at risk of falling from roof

    Dudley Magistrates have  heard how workmen were engaged in the repair to a section of pipework on the roof of a warehouse in Bilston on 12 April 2016. The workers climbed onto the roof from a ‘man-cage’ which was lifted into position by a fork lift truck.

    The ‘man-cage’ fell short of the roof level by about 1m and there was a gap between the cage and the roof which workers needed to climb across. Once the workers were on the roof, it was slippery and wet, with no barrier in place to prevent a fall.

    HSE investigators identified failings in relation to how the work, specifically access to the roof, was planned, managed and monitored.

    Assumptions failed to secure precautions

    The companies involved failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and did not agree a safe system of work for the repair of the pipework which required access to the roof.

    The firms assumed that the other had put into place systems that would protect workers from the risks of working at height.

    • Kingswinford Engineering Co Limited – of Shaw Road, Dudley pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £18,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,000.
    • James Durrans & Sons Limited – of Anchor Road, Bilston pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000.

    Speaking after the case, HSE inspector Edward Fryer commented:

    “This incident highlights the need for contractors to be managed properly. Both the contractors and those engaging them must assess the risks of the site and the specific work to ensure it can be done safely. In this case, no risk assessment was carried out and arrangements made to access the roof put workers at significant risk of falling from height.”

     

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