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June 29, 2012

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Surprise inspection identified unsafe work at crematorium

A maintenance company was caught carrying out unsafe work at height at a crematorium in Swansea during an unannounced visit by an HSE inspector.

Swansea Magistrates’ Court heard that IFZW Maintenance Ltd had been contracted to install fans as part of a new mercury-abatement system at Morriston Crematorium. On 15 August last year, HSE inspector Anne Marie Orrells made an unannounced visit to the site and witnessed two of the firm’s employees working on the roof without any edge protection.

They were also using an unsecured ladder to access the roof, which was leaning against a wall as members of the public walked past. The company was issued a Prohibition Notice to stop the work until adequate edge protection was put in place.

Inspector Orrells explained that the method of work was poorly planned, she said: “It was entirely foreseeable that people could fall when accessing and working on the crematorium roof.

“The installation of the fans was seen as short-duration work and was done in the absence of safety measures. The decision to work in this manner is indicative of poor planning and management for work at height.”

The HSE was already aware of IFZW Maintenance, as it had issued a Prohibition Notice to the firm nine weeks earlier at a site in Sheffield, for work being carried out on top of cremator equipment without fall protection.

IFZW Maintenance appeared in court on 27 June and pleaded guilty to breaching reg.4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It was fined £11,500 and ordered to pay £3208 in costs.

Inspector Orrells concluded: “A fall from the roof could have proved fatal and posed a clear risk to members of the public attending funeral services. The dangers of working at height are well known and the standards are well established within industry and legislation.”

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12 years ago

Could this been seen as a near death experience?

12 years ago

Or alternatively, death defying WAH?

12 years ago

I`m surprised they did not offer that in mitigation?

Could have halved the fine, poor call by the Brief on that one?

You should become a Lawyer, well spotted.

12 years ago

I think for there own peice of mind and the wellfare of others every company should only register with approved builders by law. any incident that accures with a unregisted or reconised company should be delt with a prison sencence. be it the person that hires the company or other way round. and i bet that opens people,s eyes, fines do not work people re afend because money is powerfull.

12 years ago

But they must have been safe – they are clearly wearing hi vis vests…