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HSE warns on roof work after company fined £3,000

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is advising employers, especially small and medium sized enterprises, about the need to ensure safe procedures when undertaking building maintenance work after a man fell while working on a roof.

Body & Wheels Workshop Ltd, based in Westgate on Sea, was ordered to pay a fine of £3,000 and costs of £1,597 at Margate Magistrates' Court today following an injury to a member of staff.

The company pleaded guilty to two charges under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 after failing to ensure the safety of their employees whilst they were working on a fragile roof.

On 2 November 2007, 18-year-old employee Aaron Green fell four metres through a fragile asbestos cement roof whilst cleaning away moss. He was working from two crawling boards, which had not been secured or fitted with guardrails. Mr Green broke his right leg in two places following the fall and was off work for several months.

Despite the incident, the HSE found that later that day and on the following day, the company continued to work on the roof in the same manner to complete the job. In doing so they placed further members of staff at risk of serious injury.

Steve Banfield, HSE Principal Inspector, said: 'This case highlights the serious consequences that can occur when health and safety law is not adhered to, and demonstrates how working at height can be extremely dangerous if the correct procedures are not followed. This type of work is inherently dangerous and is best left to professional roof workers to carry out.

'This accident could have easily resulted in more severe injuries to Mr Green and it is by good fortune alone that we have not been dealing with a fatality today. This makes it all the more disappointing that HSE discovered the company had continued to work on the roof in the same manner even after the incident.'