Roofing firm fine should act as a safety warning

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Roofing firm fine should act as a safety warning

29th March 2011

The latest case of a firm being fined for workplace safety failings must act as a warning to others according to an expert in accidents at work.

Karl Tonks, head of the Employers' Liability department at Fentons Solicitors LLP, spoke out after a property maintenance firm in Wirral was fined for allowing workers to make repairs to a sloping roof without adequate protection.

"Workplace regulations governing the safety of employees working at height exist for a reason," said Karl, a partner with the firm. "It should never be underestimated just how important it is that companies abide by these rules and it is equally vital that firms seen to be flouting them be brought to account in the strictest possible way."

Canova UK Ltd, of Milner Road, Heswell, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for failing to ensure scaffolding, edge protection or other safety equipment was in place to prevent workers from being injured in a fall, after two employees were witnessed standing on the ridge of a roof.

Wirral Magistrates' Court was told an HSE inspector - responding to a complaint about work being carried out on the site - witnessed the unprotected employees carrying out repairs, despite the same company having received a separate prohibition notice following a similar incident four months earlier. Work was immediately suspended and a prohibition notice was served.

"It is totally unacceptable that a company already in receipt of a prohibition notice should choose to ignore safety procedures designed specifically to protect their employees from serious injury," said Karl.

"If either worker had slipped or fallen, they could easily have ended up dead or seriously injured," he added. "We deal with numerous accidents of this nature every year and the devastation caused to the families of those injured or killed as a result of falls from height is all too real."

Canova UK Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs.

"Falls from height are a major cause of workplace deaths in the UK, said Karl. "Last year, more than 4,000 workers suffered serious injuries and 12 were killed as a result of incidents of this kind. It is therefore absolutely paramount that roofing firms ensure they do everything they possibly can to protect their employees at all times."

How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of accidents in the workplace.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

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