Video footage shows workers on high roof with no fall prevention facilities… A director of a Suffolk-based roofing company has been prosecuted by the HSE after a member of the public used a video camera to record him working without observing safety protocols.
The man was filmed using a high-powered disc cutter to cut through a roof tile as he and his colleague carried out their duties on a high roof without any kind of fall prevention facilities or equipment.
A passer-by noticed the unsafe work procedures in Dennington, Suffolk last July and proceeded to record the men and then reported them to the HSE. After watching the video footage the HSE launched an investigation into the roofing company and their director.
Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard that the 34 year-old company director did not even use a roof ladder to access the roof but instead chose to clamber up onto the ridge where he worked using the roof tiles. The court was also informed that the director and his work colleague were observed walking along the top of the ridge without having any kind of fall prevention measures in place which are essential and legally required for working at heights.
The director of the roofing company pleaded guilty to a breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and a fine of £1,300 was imposed in him in addition to costs of £3.000.
HSE Inspector Elizabeth Fowle who investigated the case spoke after the hearing:
“The director should have led by example, but instead he put his own life and the life of an employee at risk. Fortunately no one was injured on this occasion, but it is astonishing that he thought it was acceptable to use a potentially dangerous piece of machinery while perched at the top of the roof.
“This case should serve as a warning to other company directors that if you work without the right safety equipment and put lives at risk, you could end up in court.”
Falls from height are the biggest single cause of workplace fatalities in the UK. The latest figures from the HSE report that more than 4,000 workers sustained a serious injury as a result of a fall in 2010/11, and 15 were killed.