The crane hire company employee was hired by a roofing firm to provide them with a crane to lift roofing sheets onto a factory roof. Unfortunately, as sheets were being lifted onto the roof, the employee fell through an unprotected skylight and died as a result of his injuries.
The subsequent HSE investigation found that there were no preventative measures in place to allow operatives to work safely on the roof. A set of Yeoman boards had been ordered to provide a safe working platform on the roof but these were not installed before the work started.
The roofing company pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and was fined £140,250 with costs of over £41,000. Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act states that "It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety"
The crane hire firm pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which stipulates that "It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees" and was fined £83,300 with costs of £21,500.
The Importance of Risk Assessments
Before any work at height is undertaken, a thorough risk assessment must be carried out in order to determine how the work can be carried out safely and what equipment is needed and immediately before the work starts a dynamic risk assessment should be completed to check that the measures are still appropriate. Anyone working at height must also have appropriate training and instruction.
Unfortunately in this case, if correct procedures had been followed, someone would have realised that the Yeoman boards were missing and prevented the work from starting, giving them time to source alternative protection. Products such as our Roof Walk lightweight aluminium walkway would have been the ideal solution as it is designed to provide a safe working platform and would have allowed work to be carried out around the fragile skylights in complete safety.