Safety Breach Costs Company After Roofer’s Skylight Accident

Hightech Roofing N/W Ltd, a company based in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, has been fined £20,000 following a serious incident in which a worker sustained severe injuries after falling through a roof. The accident happened in Blackburn when the employee fell 15 feet (4.8 meters) through a skylight, resulting in fractured vertebrae and broken bones in his foot and ankle.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that the company had failed to implement essential safety measures. Specifically, Hightech Roofing did not place boards over the skylights to prevent workers from stepping through them. HSE inspector Sam Eves emphasised that the incident was entirely avoidable with the proper control measures and safe working practices in place. The investigation also highlighted that while boards were used for most of the roof work, there was a critical oversight in not covering the roof light, which led to the fall.

Further scrutiny revealed additional safety lapses. The company had neglected to assess the specific risks associated with working on or over fragile surfaces and did not adequately address the dangers posed by employees working near the roof’s edge. Hightech Roofing N/W Ltd admitted to breaching Regulation 4 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was also ordered to pay £5,858.46 in costs at Preston Magistrates Court.

Working At Height: Employer Expectations

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 apply to employers and individuals who control work at height, such as facilities managers or building owners who contract others for such tasks.

Under these regulations, employers and those in control of work at height must ensure that all activities are properly planned, supervised, and executed by competent individuals. This entails using appropriate equipment for the task at hand. For low-risk and straightforward tasks, planning efforts may be less intensive, but careful consideration is still necessary.

Central to compliance with the regulations is the requirement to conduct a thorough risk assessment. This involves identifying potential hazards and implementing measures to mitigate them effectively.

Employees are obligated to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions. Additionally, they must cooperate with their employer to facilitate compliance with health and safety duties and requirements.

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