Workers had no fall prevention facilities in place…
A refurbishment company has been prosecuted by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a member of the public observed employees working at heights without the necessary safety precautions for that kind of work.
Two employees were spotted working on the roof of a furniture store in Cannock, Merseyside on 26 September 2011 and photographs of the unsafe working practices were taken and forwarded to the HSE by a member of the public.
On receiving the complaint and viewing the photographic evidence the HSE decided to visit the premises of the company in order to conduct a full investigation. They discovered that many of the employees of the company has not received the necessary training for carrying out roof work nor had they been provided with the safety equipment required for performing their duties at height.
Stafford Magistrates’ Court was told that the work at the furniture store had not been adequately planned and that no risk assessment had been carried out to determine the specific risks associated with working at heights at the site. It was also noted that there was a lack of fall prevention facilities in evidence at the site and the absence of any kind of scaffolding or netting significantly increased the risk of injury or death for the employees of the company.
Even though no accidents had occurred at the site, the court heard that the men working on the roof as well as those who worked on the ground below them had been allowed to carry out their duties in a work environment that posed a high degree of unnecessary risk to their safety.
The Wolverhampton-based company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work of Height Regulations 2005 and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,761 in costs.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Alastair Choudhury said:
“Falls from height are a significant cause of fatalities and serious injuries. The risks involved with work at height are entirely foreseeable, and it is essential that proper planning, assessment and training is undertaken to reduce these risks.
“Those who neglect to do this and who don’t provide a safe system of work put workers at serious risk. They are clearly failing to comply with the required standard.
“I would like to thank the member of the public who brought this to our attention because the situation had the potential to lead to serious or fatal injuries for both men.”
Author: Julian Roberts
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