Construction News

Sun June 13 2021

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Got a light, mate?

1 Jun 12 A Wirral roofer has been prosecuted after he allowed a labourer to use a lit gas burner on a house roof without any measures in place to stop him being injured in a fall.

Daniel Loftus, right, with a labourer holding a lit gas burner
Daniel Loftus, right, with a labourer holding a lit gas burner

Daniel Loftus was photographed on the roof of a terraced house on Mainwaring Road, Wallasey, approximately five metres above the ground, while another worker held the burner to seal the roof.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted Mr Loftus after a passing inspector spotted the unsafe work on 16 November 2011, and immediately ordered the two men to come down.

Wirral Magistrates’ Court in Birkenhead heard that there was no scaffolding or guarding around the edge of the roof to prevent either worker being injured in a fall. Instead they had used a ladder, resting against the guttering, to reach the roof and then walked along it.

Mr Loftus, 32, also failed to cordon off the busy footpath immediately below where they were working, putting members of the public at risk of being injured by falling debris or tools.

The court was told that Mr Loftus had ignored the job sheet he had been given by his employer, Roofcare Ltd, which told him scaffolding had to be used for the work. The scaffolding was in the back of his van, but he did not bother to use it.

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Daniel Loftus, of St David’s Road, Prenton, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 by failing to take reasonable care of the health and safety of other people while at work. He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £600 in prosecution costs.

HSE inspector Chris Hatton said afterwards: "It’s astonishing that Mr Loftus was told by his employer what he needed to do to carry out the work safely, yet chose to ignore this despite having scaffolding in the back of his van.

"Instead, he allowed a labourer to hold a gas burner while standing on the roof, without any measures in place to stop him falling to the ground. Both the labourer and passersby on the pavement directly below were put in danger as a result.

"This case should act as a warning to roofers that if they put lives at risk by not using the proper safety equipment, then they could find themselves in court."

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