Prison Sentence for Roofing Contractor

Council H&S officers reported dangerous roof work to HSE – Prison Sentence for Roofing Contractor. A roofing contractor has been sentenced for safety breaches after workers were left at risk of falling from unprotected roof edges in February 2016. The failures of C Smith Roofing (Mr Chris Smith T/A) were discovered by local council health and safety staff who could see unsafe scaffolding from their office window.

Leeds Crown Court heard that in November 2015 Mr Smith was contracted to carry out some roof repairs to a Guest House roof in Northallerton. Scaffolding was erected along the full length of the roof at the front of the property. There was a conservatory structure at the rear of the property and the company erected only a partial scaffold at the rear. The scaffolding erected at the rear failed to take the conservatory into account which left approximately two-thirds of the rear roof edge unprotected.

Health and safety risk managers at North Yorkshire County Council saw the project from their office window and were concerned for the safety of two workers on a roof. The workmen were under the control of Mr Smith and at risk of falling approximately 7m from the unprotected edge of the roof at the rear of the property.

Prison Sentence for Roofing Contractor – Chris Smith pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The Court sentenced Mr Smith to an eight-month prison sentence (suspended for two) years and ordered that he complete 200 hours of community service and pay £5800 in prosecution costs.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Tania Shiffer commented:

Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.

There were not suitable or sufficient measures in place to prevent the risk of a person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

This is a good example of HSE working closely with local authority partners, helping Great Britain work well.

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