Fragile roofing warning after firm fined for Newcastle worker’s seven-metre fall
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) today warned of the dangers of working on fragile roofs, following the conviction of a Lancashire-based company and a director for breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
The warning follows a serious incident in which Mr Lucasz Czuba, 26, of Longbenton, Newcastle fell seven metres whilst carrying out refurbishment work on the roof of a building at “Shoe City”, Sands Lane Industrial Estate, Gateshead in July 2007.
At Gateshead Magistrates Court today (29 September 2009) Webber Trading Ltd, of Keighley Mill, 43 Bank Parade, Burnley, was fined £6,000 after pleading guilty to charges under section 3(1) and section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was also ordered to pay £2,838.20 costs and £15 victim surcharge.
Jeffrey Robinson, director of Webber Trading Ltd, who was present on the roof directing the work at the time of the incident, was fined £1,000 after pleading guilty to charges under section 3(1) and section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was also ordered to pay £200 costs and £15 victim surcharge.
The building owners contracted Webber Trading Ltd to carry out industrial roof repairs which involved fitting steel sheets over the existing fragile plastic roof lights. The team of four working on the roof included the director Jeffrey Robinson.
During the course of the work, Mr Czuba stepped onto an unprotected fragile plastic roof light which gave way and he fell seven metres to the warehouse floor, sustaining serious injuries.
HSE Inspector Martin Smith commented after the case:
“Last year (2007-08) more than half (52%) of the workers who died on construction sites worked in refurbishment, repair and maintenance. Of these, 34 were killed following a fall from height during construction work.
“The measures which should have been taken in order to prevent this incident happening are straightforward and well documented. It is clear that the director and the company failed to recognise the risks posed in working on the fragile roof lights. This serious incident could have been avoided.”