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May 31, 2012

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Perilously-perched roofer filmed in power-tool repair job

The director of a roofing firm has been prosecuted for dangerous work-at-height practices after being caught on camera using a power tool while balancing on the ridge of a roof at a domestic property.

Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard the HSE received a complaint from a member of the public in July last year that unsafe work was being carried out on the roof of a house in Dennington, Suffolk. Workers had been spotted carrying out roof repairs without any measures to protect them from falling.

The HSE viewed video footage filmed by the same member of public, which showed Anthony Nightingale, a director of 3A Roofing Ltd, using a petrol-powered disc cutter to cut through a tile while he and an employee worked on the roof without any edge protection, or safe working platform in place.

The video also showed Nightingale and his employee using an unsuitable ladder to access the roof and then clambering up and down the tiles to access the ridge of the roof.

HSE inspector Elizabeth Fowle explained that Nightingale had put himself and his employee’s life at risk by not ensuring suitable safety equipment was present. She said: “Mr Nightingale should have led by example, but instead he put his own life and the life of an employee at risk. Fortunately, no one was injured on this occasion, but it is astonishing that Mr Nightingale thought it was acceptable to use a potentially dangerous piece of machinery while perched at the top of the roof.”

Nightingale appeared in court on 29 May and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. He was fined £1500 and ordered to pay £3000 towards prosecution costs.

In mitigation, Nightingale said he had no previous safety convictions and entered an early guilty plea. He admitted he underestimated the work involved and failed to properly assess the risks involved.

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Alexhoward_121
Alexhoward_121
11 years ago

Comments about intervening are interesting. I asked to see the supervisor of some builders working at bank when I saw them working at height on scaffolding with two boards and no handrails or netting & above the pavement with people walking below. I raised the issue with the ‘scaffs”explaining the potential consequenses and what was requred. When asked “who the F*** are you then?” I said “I’m the F***** that will be phoning the HSE if this isn’t fixed right now!” Fixed in 20 mins!

Alexhoward_121
Alexhoward_121
11 years ago

It was somewhat concerning that all of the missing scaffolding ‘bits’ were on the back of the builders truck – scaff poles,debris netting, more boards, toe boards, etc, etc!

There was an excellent CPD article in SHP about ‘bystander apathy’ recently. If I approach someone assertively, but diplomatically and put my case to them, what is the guy going to do – hit me?
However, If someone doesn’t feel confident enough to challenge- take a photo and tell someone -its better than doing nothing!

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

Structural Design Engineering company Bingham Davis fined £1000.00 because of liquidation, having paralysed a crane operator and fortunately not causing mulitple fatalities in Liverpool.

And this ill informed incompentent loonie is fined £1500.00.

“British Justice”, you`ve got to be kidding me.

This chap is a plank, the other bandits knew exactly what they were doing and avoided the consequences legitimately.

This has to change for everybodies benefit?

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

Again the excuse of no previous convictions?

So never before had he undertaken work of this nature, this was an unforseeable scenario? Complete BS.

He woke up that morning and thought, How stupid can I be today, make a change, start a new chapter in my CPD process, lets see how it goes. Might save a few quid as well?

And this is the calibre of domestic contractor that legislation fails to control.

We as an industry need to come up with a competence registration scheme to stop these fools?

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

The defendant was a designated Duty Holder – Director and therefore an employer.

Regulation 6(3) of WAH 2005

(3) Where work is carried out at height, every employer shall take suitable and sufficient measures to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

He himself is “any person” plus the other chap with him.

Amazed that this was the only breach used though, many more WAH breaches apply, I say use them all as applicable.

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

You then have corrobarating evidence.

Under Scotish Law a witness statement is insufficient evidence.

A picture speaks a thousand words.

Crowthers
Crowthers
11 years ago

Well done to Alex for his great riposte to “who the F*** are you then”
I think that we also need a new term for people working at height unsafely.
I would call it “Perching”

Filberton
Filberton
11 years ago

WHR reg 6 is on the employer so the fine is against the company which means he will either liquidate or hold as a debt. Pity it was not under HASWA sect.7 then it would be personal and he could neither liquidate nor use company funds.
As it is it will almost certainly be “That’s life, stick 2 grand on the next customers bill then cotinue as before” Until the Baliffs seize his 48inch telly or the BMW this sort never learn.

M1Mcq
M1Mcq
11 years ago

It always amazes me that people have the time to take photos or video footage of persons carrying out the task when they deem it is dangerous. What happens when the person being photographed or captured by video has a fall, becomes hurt or hurt someone during the taking of the footage?

M1Mcq
M1Mcq
11 years ago

Obviously I am aware that the individuals are responsible for their own actions should be held more accountable. I dont condone it in any way but I have seen where the HSE have taken photos of what they class as a dangerous occurrence or where there is a risk to someones health. My role is as a safety advisor and if see something that is dangerous on site I dont think wheres my camera, I stop the act.

Mohammed
Mohammed
11 years ago

WHAT AN IDIOT

Ray
Ray
11 years ago

Mike, if the person should get injured it is hardly the fault of the photographer is it?

Hopefully the snapper would have reported it to the local EHO/HSE and then waited 2 days for them to turn up!

Rob
Rob
11 years ago

Agree Bob, wonder how many are out there today in heavy rain, windy conditions and doing exactly the same thing??? Need wider publicity or even a real targetted campaign from HSE. Cost is always something people throw back, but never can, nor will, be an excuse!

Rob
Rob
11 years ago

I saw something very similar a few doors from my house last week. In a friendly manner I attempted to advise the builders of the hazardous nature of their task, but was told in no uncertain terms to ‘go away’ and mind my own **** business.

Smith
Smith
11 years ago

Small contractors at height on domestic properties are a real concern. It’s so price oriented. I came across a scaffolding company installing on a self-build extension where kick boards were an optional extra.