Photographs of unsafe working practices on roof of pub sent to HSE…
Members of the public who reported unsafe working practices during the demolition of a Derbyshire pub have caused the HSE to intervene and prosecute the demolition contractor involved.
Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard that the HSE had received complaints from several members of the public and also had been sent photographic evidence of the unsafe working methods at height that were occurring at the site. These showed that the workers on the roof of the two-storey pub were working without any kind of fall prevention equipment thereby significantly increasing the risk of serious accident.
The HSE responded by offering the principal contractor for the demolition firm guidance and advice on implementing the necessary safety measures for working at heights. However when inspectors visited the site in May 2011 they witnessed unsafe working practices still happening including one incident where a worker threw timber from the edge of the roof of the building with no safety protocols in place to protect himself or those around him.
Two Prohibition Notices were served by HSE inspectors which prevented the demolition firm from carrying out any more work until they submitted a demolition plan which included provisions for the necessary safety procedures to be introduced on site.
The principal contractor was fined a total of £2,500 and ordered him to pay costs of £2,500 after he admitted breaching Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
HSE Inspector Lee Greatorex spoke after the hearing had been concluded:
“The dangers that the workers faced were so great and so obvious that no fewer than three members of the public took the trouble to contact HSE with their concerns, one of them with photographs.
“The contractor blatantly ignored HSE’s advice leaving a worker at the site exposed to an unnecessary risk of a serious or even fatal injury. Demolition and work at height are high risk activities. There is a need to adequately plan for such work and ensure those plans are fully implemented and monitored effectively to ensure the safety of those involved.”
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