The recent prosecution of a roofing firm for safety breaches after a worker fractured his skull following a fall from height is the perfect example of what happens when you fail to properly plan short duration work.
The company had been contracted to replace existing rooflights at a property when the worker slipped and fell about 7m through the inner roof sheet.
During its investigation into the incident, the HSE found that there was no risk assessment for the work and there were no precautions in place to prevent falls from either the roof edge or through fragile materials. The company had however carried out work on the site before where they clad a new building with the appropriate safety precautions in place. However, when it came this contract, which was minor, short duration work, they failed to plan the work and follow correct procedures.
As a result of the incident, the company was found guilty of breaching Sections 2(1) and 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and was fined £10,000 with costs.
Section 2(1) states that “it shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees” while 3(1) stipulates that “it shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”
Following the hearing, the HSE inspector commented that: “Basic precautions for roof work and better planning of the job should have been applied. Even short duration work on fragile roofs should be properly assessed and managed.”
Our Hierarchy of Control infographic can help you to understand what measures need to be put in place so that you can work safely at height. Click here to see for further details.