A signage company based in Yorkshire has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of over £1500 after one of their workers fell five metres from a flat roof while attempting to erect a large sign.
Chesterfield Magistrates Court heard how Sheffield-based Warburton Signs Ltd had been contracted to install a large sign to the gable end of an industrial building. Three of their sign-fitters accessed a neighbouring flat roof to fit the sign when tragically one of the men fell to the ground 5 metres below. He sustained life-threatening injuries including a fractured skull, several broken ribs, a chipped vertebra and a collapsed lung.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that no measures had been put in place to prevent the fall from height – a clear breach of the Working at Height Regulations 2005, and hence the company were fined a significant sum. HSE Inspector Helen Barley said of the incident: “Failure to prevent falls when working at height can lead to serious injury or death.”
According to the HSE, managing work at height follows a hierarchy of controls; avoid, prevent, arrest, but the first question should always be; Can the work be done safely from the ground?
Assessing work at height – assess the risks, take precautions, and issue clear method statements for everyone who will work at height
Roof work – Plan safe access, and prevent falls from edges and openings
Fragile Surfaces – avoid, control, communicate and co-operate
Ladders – the three key safety issues: position, condition, and safe use
Tower Scaffolds – select the correct tower for the job, erect, use, move and dismantle safely; ensure that it is stable, and inspect it regularly.
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