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Passer-by reports contractor to HSE

31 Jan 13 A contractor has been fined after employees were photographed by a member of the public working at height with nothing to stop them falling.

Unsafe work on the roof of a large furniture store in Bridgtown, Cannock
Unsafe work on the roof of a large furniture store in Bridgtown, Cannock

The two men, who do not wish to be named, were working on the roof of a large furniture store in Bridgtown, Cannock, on 26 September 2011 for Fastrac Profiles Ltd when they were spotted by a concerned member of the public, who took a photo and reported them to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Although they had an aerial work platform, the photo clearly shows it being misused as one of the men balances precariously with one foot on the rail of the manbasket and the other on the roof, a metre or so away.

HSE inspectors visited the Green Lane premises and found that the workers were not trained for the roof repairs they were undertaking.

Stafford Magistrates' Court heard yesterday (30 January) that the men had been instructed to weld steel to uprights at the apex of a roof. The work was poorly planned and no risk assessment had been carried out. HSE inspectors also found that no fall-prevention measures, such as scaffolding, had been put in place.

Although the failings did not result in a fall or injury, the two employees, plus others working below them, were placed in unnecessary danger, the HSE said.

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Fastrac Profiles Ltd, of Neptune Industrial Estate, Willenhall, near Wolverhampton, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,761 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work of Height Regulations 2005.

HSE inspector Alastair Choudhury said after the hearing: "Falls from height are a significant cause of fatalities and serious injuries. The risks involved with work at height are entirely foreseeable, and it is essential that proper planning, assessment and training is undertaken to reduce these risks.

"Those who neglect to do this, like Fastrac Profiles Ltd, and who don't provide a safe system of work put workers at serious risk. They are clearly failing to comply with the required standard.

"I would like to thank the member of the public who brought this to our attention because the situation had the potential to lead to serious or fatal injuries for both men."

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