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Company Fined For Working At Height Safety Breach

A roofing repair company from Hertfordshire has been fined after a worker fell four metres from the roof of business park and suffered multiple injuries.

The 23-year-old worker was on the fragile asbestos cement roof to make temporary repairs on 3 May 2011, when the roof gave way beneath him.

He sustained serious fractures to his skull and an eye socket, a fractured wrist, major bruising to his back, a gash to his left leg and cuts to his head which required stitches. The worker was hospitalised for a total of five days.

HSE told the court the proposed approach of using scaffold boards in isolation was inherently unsafe, as workers would have been at risk during the placement and removal of the boards, as well as during the installation of the wooden frames. This meant that the workers were at risk of falling through the roof at several points during the project.

The company held responsible pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Paul Hoskins said:
“It is vital for those responsible for planning work to ensure they follow the correct precautions when anyone is working at height.
“[the company’s] workers were exposed to unacceptable risks of falling from the roof or through the fragile asbestos sheets for several days. Their failures led to a young man being severely injured but could very easily have resulted in a fatality.
“Simple measures such as using barriers to prevent access to fragile areas or safely installing adequate coverings over the fragile roof sheets would have meant workers were protected.
“It is essential that the hazards associated with working at height are recognised and understood by those carrying out the work. You should never work on a fragile roof without a safe system of work.”
Further information and training about working safely at height, including information on PASMA and IPAF training can be found at XYZ.co.uk