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January 26, 2021

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Roofing supplies firm and director fined after workers fall from height

A roofing supplies firm and its director have been fined after two workers fell from a tower scaffold, sustaining serious injuries.

Two employees of Rooffabs Direct Ltd had been working with Paul McMahon, the sole director of the company, to install signage at retail premises on Bury New Road, Prestwich. Manchester Magistrates’ Court was told. The employees used a tower scaffold to carry out the work. During the afternoon, when Mr McMahon was no longer on site, the tower scaffold moved away from the building and the two employees fell approximately two metres, suffering fractures to their legs and ankles. The incident happened on 27 November 2018.

The HSE’s investigation found that the tower scaffold had not been erected by someone with suitable training. There were missing guard rails on the scaffold and no outriggers in place at the time of the incident. The company also failed to report the incident as required by RIDDOR.

Rooffabs Direct Limited of St Mary’s place, Bury, pleaded guilty to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and section 3(1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Regulations 2013. The company was fined £20,000.

Paul McMahon of Bury Road, Rochdale, pleaded guilty under section 37 to breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and section 3(1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Regulations 2013. Mr McMahon was ordered to complete 100 hours community service, pay compensation orders of £500 each for the two injured persons and was ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector David Norton said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities and severe injuries in this country. The risks associated with work at height are well known.

“This incident could so easily have been avoided by having a suitably trained person put up the tower scaffold and ensuring that the required guardrails and outriggers were in place.”

Barbour download: Guide to working at height

Work at any height can cause injury; a fall from a height of just one or two steps can cause serious injury.

The Regulations were amended in 2007 to extend their application to those who work at height providing instruction or leadership to one or more people engaged in caving or climbing by way of sport, recreation, team building or similar activities in Great Britain.

Download your free guide from Barbour to understand: Duties of persons in control of work at height; Duties of persons undertaking work at height; General controls when working at height; Method statement for work at height; Selection of a means of access; Working platforms; Guardrails and toeboards; Ladders Mobile work platforms; Suspended access equipment; Personal suspension equipment and, Inspection of fall arrest equipment.

Barbour EHS

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