Roofing firm is fined over safety shortfalls

The two men working in unsafe conditions on the roof
The two men working in unsafe conditions on the roof

A ROOFING firm has been fined after passing health and safety inspectors caught staff working unsafely on a seven-metre high roof.

Brigg and Humberside Roofing Services Ltd of Westrum Lane in Brigg pleaded guilty at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court to breaching work at height health and safety regulations .

The HSE said the company had failed to provide suitable equipment to prevent a fall from or through the roof, such as a mobile elevating platform or standard platform with handrails.

There was nothing in place, such as netting or a boarded platform underneath the roof, which would have caught anyone falling.

Two roofers were seen carrying out repairs at a building on Lancaster Approach, Immingham, as HSE inspectors were investigating an unrelated case.

The inspectors were shocked by the obvious dangers and stopped to take photographs and to issue a prohibition notice to immediately stop the roof repair work.

Grimsby Magistrates’ Court was told the men’s employers had not provided the necessary safeguards or equipment for the two workers. The risks, including the potentially fragile condition of the roof, had not been adequately considered. The firm was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £1,887 in costs.

After the case, HSE inspector Alan Sheldon said: “It was pure chance a passing HSE team spotted these two workers as both men were obviously in significant danger of falling off or through the roof.

“There was no safe system of work to prevent a fall and nothing in place to mitigate the effects of a fall, such as netting underneath the roof.

“Falls from height are still the biggest killer in the construction industry. In 2009/10 more than half of the deaths which occurred in the industry were due to falls. An estimated 4,000 or so workers were also badly injured last year after falling from heights.

“HSE will not hesitate to prosecute firms which choose not to comply with regulations and thereby put their employees at serious risk.”