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Roofing firm prosecuted after workers' lives put at risk

29 Oct 10 A Merseyside roofing firm has been fined £2,000 after it allowed two employees to work dangerously on the roof of a detached house in Wirral.

Furber Roofing Ltd was prosecuted after a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector spotted the workers carrying out roof and chimney repairs to a house on Dovepoint Road in Meols on 28 January 2010.

HSE inspector Nicholas Mostyn immediately asked the workers to come down from the roof, and issued a prohibition notice stopping the work until measures to prevent a fall had been put in place.

The men were working nearly five metres above the ground, with no scaffolding or edge protection around the roof to prevent a fall. Wirral Magistrates' Court in Birkenhead heard that Furber Roofing had also been served with a prohibition notice less than three months earlier, on 19 November 2009, over a similar incident.

Furber Roofing was found guilty of two health and safety offences after it failed to carry out a risk assessment, or take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent a fall. The company, which employs 18 workers and has an annual turnover of £750,000, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 on 28 October 2010.

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HSE inspector Nicholas Mostyn said: "This prosecution arises out of a lack of planning for the work, and resulted in the lives of two employees at Furber Roofing being put at risk. The company had provided a tower scaffold for their employees but it couldn't be used to carry out the work because of the garage attached to the house. They would have known this if they had properly assessed and planned the work in advance.

"Every job is different and companies therefore need to make sure safety measures, specific to each site, are implemented. Each year, 11 roofers are killed as the result a fall. It is only luck that neither of Furber Roofing's employees was injured on this occasion."

Furber Roofing, of Alfred Road in Wallasey, was charged with breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, and Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

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