• Robert Spicer

Dangerous roof work in sight of health and safety managers

Dangerous roof work: suspended sentence for employer

Health and Safety Executive v Smith (2017) Leeds Crown Court, September 13

Statutory reference: regulation 6 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR)

The facts

· In November 2015 Chris Smith, a roofing contractor, was engaged to carry out roof repairs to a guest house in Northallerton. Scaffolding was erected along the full length of the roof at the front of the property.

· Because there was a conservatory at the back of the property, only a partial scaffold was erected. This left two-thirds of the rear roof edge unprotected.

· Health and safety managers at North Yorkshire County Council could see the work from their office window. They had concerns about two workers on the roof where there were inadequate fall measures in place. Two workers were at risk of falling seven metres from the roof.

The decision

Smith was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was ordered to carry out 200 hours community service and to pay £5800 costs.

An HSE inspector commented after the case that work at height is a high-risk activity which accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.

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