On the 17th March 2015, a member of public photographed unsafe work at the construction site and sent it to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
Manchester Magistrates Court heard that the photograph showed Jake Clarke, a director of Enviroply Roofing Ltd. His business partner, Aaron Hepworth, was also witnessed walking along the beam to pass something to Mr Clarke, then walking back again. There was nothing in place to prevent or mitigate a fall from this beam.
The HSE investigation discovered that there was a full time scaffolder on site who was employed to build any scaffolding required by contractors but on this occasion, Enviroply and its directors had chosen to rush the job in order to submit their invoice earlier. According to the HSE, Mr Clarke and Mr Hepworth put their lives at risk as any fall would have been one storey and onto timber beams.
The HSE said that all three defendants failed to take the proper precautions to manage the risk of a significant fall from height, despite there being adequate provision on site to provide them with scaffolding and safe working platforms.
Enviroply Roofing Limited of Unit 20b, Yarrow Business Centre, Yarrow Rd, Chorley pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates Court to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was were fined £13,300 with £1,160.50 costs.
Jake Joseph Clarke of Crown Street, Leyland, Preston pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates Court to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £1,100 with £1,160.50 costs.
Aaron Paul Hepworth of 1 Appleyard, Prestolee Road, Radcliffe pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates Court to breaching Section 37(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was fined £2,100 with £1,160.50 costs.
HSE inspector Matt Greenly said after the case: “Enviroply Roofing Limited had a duty to protect any employees, even the directors, from a risk of a fall from height. Mr Clarke and Mr Hepworth, in their position as directors, recognised that their choices on that day placed themselves at a serious risk of death or life changing injury and admitted as much for themselves and their company. They only realised afterwards that running those risks in order to submit an invoice early was a very unnecessary, considering how serious the consequences could have been.
“It is pure luck that no-one was injured or killed. I would like to thank the people who reported these concerns to us as they have been instrumental in saving the lives of these men. It is hoped that other construction workers will see these cases as a warning that HSE will act robustly to concerns received and perhaps they will take a little more time to protect themselves on their next site.”