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Firm pays out £14,000 for dangerous work at height practices

25 Mar 10 A Leicestershire company has been fined for failing to ensure the safety of contractors working on a 7m-high roof.

A Leicestershire company has been fined for failing to ensure the safety of contractors working on a 7m-high roof.

Cobham Advanced Composites, of Shepshed, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for allowing three contractors to work on the roof without adequate safety measures to prevent them falling.

The firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 at Loughborough Magistrates' Court on Tuesday. It was fined £10,000 and also ordered to pay costs of £4,777.90.

The court heard that between 8 December 2008 and 16 January 2009 Cobham Advanced Composites employed Streamline Guttering and Cladding, of Kirkby Muxloe, to install new guttering on its seven-metre-high building.

The workers could access the roof by a mobile tower at the front of the building, but there was no equipment to stop the men falling at the back of the building where work was underway.

Streamline Guttering and Cladding was fined at an earlier hearing after pleading guilty to breaching the Work At Height Regulations 2005.

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Prosecuting, HSE inspector Mhairi Lockwood said: "Working on roofs is a high risk activity. There was a foreseeable risk of a fall through either fragile roof lights or from the unprotected edge of the building.

"Any of the three roofing contractors could have suffered serious injuries or worse if they had fallen.

"This case shows that it is not only the responsibility of the contracting company to ensure the safety of its workforce, but also that of its client.

"It's essential that the hazards associated with work at height are recognised and understood by the client or customer who commissions the work and that they have a responsibility for controlling contractors when on their premises.

"Falls from height cause more workplace deaths than anything else.. Working at height can be very dangerous if the right measures are not taken to protect workers."

Last year more than 4,000 employees suffered major injuries after falling from height at work, and 21 workers in the construction industry died.

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