MKM Fabrications Ltd had been employed as principal contractor to replace a roof on a textile factory building at Valley Mills in Millgate, Oldham.
The company subcontracted part of the project, which involved replacing a northern light roof structure with a modern composite roof, to Clad-It Ltd, which effectively meant employees from the two companies were working alongside each other.
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) was alerted to the fact that men were working on the roof with nothing in place to prevent them falling off the edge or through the roof onto mill workers below.
The subsequent HSE investigation confirmed the hazardous working conditions, with workers from both MKM and Clad-It at risk. Inspectors also established that these working practices continued during snowy weather. Fragile skylights that had not been covered to prevent anyone stepping onto them and falling through, nor were any measures taken to prevent a worker falling through the large gap created after the skylight had been removed. Mill employees were also at risk from being hit by falling tools or debris.
Prohibition notices were served stopping the works until a safe method was put in place.
MKM Fabrications of Meek Street, Royton, Oldham pleaded guilty at Manchester Magistrates’ Court to breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. It was fined £66,000 with £3,938.38 costs.
Clad-It Limited of Trent Industrial Estate, Duchess Street, Shaw, Oldham pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to the same offences. It was fined £66,000 with £3,938.38 costs.
HSE inspector Matt Greenly said after the case: “MKM and Clad-It failed in their duties to protect the roof workers and anyone working below them in the mill from a foreseeable risk of serious harm. The risks to workers here were obvious, and neither company thought it necessary to manage the work at height risks properly.”