A Surrey roofing specialist has been fined after concerned members of the public spotted workers walking on a fragile roof without any fall protection.
Medway Magistrates’ Court heard that Industrial Roofing (Surrey) Limited had been sub-contracted to replace and repair gutters on a former industrial building.
When a HSE inspector arrived at the site in March 2012 he saw clear evidence of work on the roofline without any precautions in place to prevent or mitigate a fall to the concrete floor below – a distance of seven metres in places.
A Prohibition Notice was served to prevent any further work on the roof until appropriate safeguards were in place, such as work platforms, coverings, guard rails and edge protection.
Subsequent video footage obtained by HSE showed workers casually walking along the roof, which was made of asbestos cement sheeting and was clearing signed as being ‘fragile’.
An Improvement Notice was also served requiring employees to undergo formal work at height training.
Neither this or the earlier notice were contested by the company and improvements were belatedly made.
Industrial Roofing (Surrey) Limited, of Guildford, but no longer trading after being compulsory wound up, was fined a total of £13,400 and ordered to pay £9,167 in costs after pleading guilty to a safety breach.
After the hearing, HSE inspector Melvyn Stancliffe said: “I would like to thank the members of the public who brought this matter to our attention.
“They provided clear evidence of the unsafe way in which the roof work was being undertaken, and in doing so they may well have prevented a fall that could have killed or seriously injured a worker.”
Source: Construction Enquirer
Lighthouse Comments: It is not really a shock to hear that the company in question has been served a wound up order, especially when they have jeopardised their staff whilst working at height on top of asbestos. Things really do need to be planned and communicated properly to staff whilst working at heights. Falling from height is the biggest killer in construction.