Unsafe roof work

Unsafe Roof Work – a roofing contractor employed by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council has had its unsafe working practices exposed after an employee fell through a roof light.

In a prosecution brought by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), Dudley magistrates heard how people were working on the roof for Woodhull Roofing had no safety measures in place to prevent them from falling. Woodhull Roofing Ltd was contracted to carry out work for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. The work was to coat roofing bolts in an asbestos cement roof, to seal leaks. While working on the corrugated roof a worker misplaced his footing when moving a board and stepped onto a fragile roof light. He fell through the roof onto a concrete floor approximately four metres below. He broke several ribs and suffered spinal injuries.

An HSE investigation found that the roof work was not undertaken with inadequate precautions to provide support or protection – unsafe roof work. Woodhull Roofing Ltd of Stratford Road, Shirley was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £495.27 after pleading guilty to breaching Regulation 9 (2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

HSE inspector Gareth Langston said after the hearing: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. In this case, suitable measures such as sufficient platforms, handrails and netting should have been provided to ensure the health and safety of people working at height on the roof.”

Unsafe roof work is a significant (but avoidable,) cause of workplace death and injury.