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Wed June 23 2021

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£1k fine for jeopardising worker's lives

13 May 13 A Merseyside roofing contractor has been fined £1,000 for failing to look after the safety of its workers.

Aston Roofing North West Ltd was found to have exposed its workers to serious risk of injury at a site in Deeside, Flintshire.

Mold Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday (10 May) that the firm had been contracted to replace the roofs of light industrial units at Connah’s Quay, Deeside. The work involved replacing fragile asbestos cement roof sheets with metal roof cladding.

On 1 November 2012 an off-duty inspector from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) spotted two men on the roof of one of the units. He could see that no safeguards had been put in place to prevent a fall from height. He immediately took steps to ensure a prohibition notice was served on the company to ensure all work on the roofs was stopped.

The court heard that the HSE found numerous ‘fall from height’ risks at the site including access onto the roof via an untied ladder, no safeguards to prevent a fall through the fragile roofing material and nothing to prevent a fall from the edges of the roof. The workers were some four or five metres from the ground.

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Aston Roofing North West Ltd, Kenilworth Drive, Pensby, Wirral, Merseyside pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £100.

HSE inspector Chris Wilcox said after the hearing: "The dangers of working at height are well known in the roofing industry yet poor safety standards and lack of safeguards still exist among some contractors.

"These employees were working on fragile roofs and yet Aston Roofing North West had neglected to implement even the most basic safety measures to minimise the risks of falls. It is very fortunate that nobody was injured.

"The prosecution should serve as a reminder to all building contractors to ensure working at height is properly planned and robust safety precautions taken. Employers have a legal duty to manage safety and failing to do so too often ends in tragedy."

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