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Roofing Firm Prosecuted Over Unsafe Work At Height

Company Taken To Court For Endangering Workers


A roofing company from London has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for its failure to properly comply with health and safety rules over working at height.

HR Roofing was taken to court by the HSE after its inspectors visited two sites and witnessed a number of shortcomings, including a lack of protection against falls from height.

The first instance of this was seen by an HSE inspector in March 2013 at a site in Harrow, where there was no scaffolding in place or any of the standard safety measures that are required by law. A prohibition notice was issued requiring that work be stopped until safeguards were put in place.

However, two months later, inspectors spotted the same problems at a site in Ealing and issued another prohibition notice.

The HSE proceeded with a prosecution against HR Roofing for these breaches of the law, which could have led to fatal falls occurring.

In the hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court, the company admitted two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations. It was fined £10,000 in total, as well as being ordered to pay £1,654 in costs.

Commenting on the case, HSE inspector Pete Collingwood remarked: "Working at height carries substantial risk, yet no measures had been put in place to try to prevent falls. This example of bad practice was not an isolated event by HR Roofing, but was repeated two months after the first incident.

"The firm exposed workers to unacceptable risks of injury and even death."

HR Roofing "chose to reject" the lessons of the Harrow incident by repeating it in Ealing, he noted, adding that this was the third instance in recent months in west London alone where the HSE has prosecuted a firm for failing to meet its responsibilities concerning working at height.

The Work at Height Regulations 2006 stipulate that "suitable and sufficient measures" should be implemented by employers to ensure, as far as possible, that any fall does not lead to injury.

Expert Opinion
This is yet another incident of safety failings related to work at height. Falls from height are one of the most common causes of serious injuries within the workplace and it is vital employers take the necessary health and safety measures to protect their workforce and contractors. This includes providing the correct equipment, safety measures and training for individuals carrying out tasks at height.

“All too often we have seen the serious and life-changing injuries that can result in a fall from height. Hopefully, this successful prosecution carried out by the HSE will encourage employers to take their responsibilities seriously and comply with the latest health and safety guidance relating to work conducted at height.”
Stephen Nye, Partner

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