A school has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety regulations after a worker was injured as he fell from a roof. After admitting breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, the school was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £1,477 in costs.
The Court heard how a maintenance team at the school was working to replace components on a bay window of a residential flat within the school grounds. A 63-year-old employee was working on the roof of the bay window when his foot got caught and he fell approximately 2.6metres to the ground below. He was taken to hospital and was found to have suffered injuries including a broken collarbone and chipped vertebrae.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that there were no effective guardrails or any other means of protection to prevent workers from falling from the roof. There were no supervisory arrangements and the work was not carried out in a safe manner.
All employers must act to ensure compliance with The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015, only allowing work at height that has been properly planned and organised. This requires risk assessments to be carried out for all work at height and the development of safe systems of work or proper evaluation of contractor’s methods for working at height.
All staff must be properly trained and follow the simple hierarchy for managing work at height laid down in The Work at Height Regulations 2005:
- AVOID work at height whenever it is possible to do so. Work must not be carried out at height if it is possible to carry out the work other than at height.
- PREVENT a person from falling a distance liable to cause an injury. This includes work being done at an existing place of work and using existing means of access and egress. Falls should be prevented by taking suitable and sufficient measures, or, where this is not possible, sufficient work equipment to prevent a fall must be provided.
- MINIMISE the distance and consequence of a fall by providing suitable work equipment or other measures.
Duty holders must also ensure the employment of capable and competent workers and that appropriate supervision of work at height operations is in place where a foreseeable risk is identified via risk assessment.
Working at height remains one of the biggest causes of fatalities and major injuries. Common cases include falls from ladders and through fragile surfaces.
‘Work at height’ means work in any place where, if there were no precautions in place, a person could fall a distance liable to cause personal injury (for example a fall through a fragile roof).
Navigator Health & Safety
- Is your workplace safe?
- Are your work practices current and appropriate?
- Do your staff comply with current procedures and working practices?
If you don’t know the answer to those questions, then a health and safety audit may be your next step. If so, feel free to contact Graham Exley to discuss how we might help.