Work at height contractor sentenced after safety failures

A roofing contractor, C Smith Roofing has been sentenced for safety breaches after workers were left at risk of falling from unprotected roof edges.

The failures were discovered by health and safety staff who could see unsafe scaffolding from their office window.

Leeds Crown Court heard that in November 2015 Mr Smith was contracted to carry out some roof repairs to a Guest House roof in Northallerton. Scaffolding was erected along the full length of the roof at the front of the property.

The presence of a conservatory structure at the rear meant that the company only erected a partial scaffold. It did not take the conservatory into account, which left approximately two thirds of the rear roof edge unprotected.

In February 2016, nearby health and safety risk managers at North Yorkshire County Council could see the project from their office window and had concerns about the safety of the two workers on a roof where there were inadequate fall protection measures in place such as scaffolding.

Two operatives working under the control of Mr Smith were at risk of falling approximately seven metres from the unprotected edge of the roof at the rear of the property.

Mr Smith was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.

Chris Smith from North Yorkshire pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 (3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. As well as his suspended prison sentence and unpaid work requirement, he was also ordered to pay £5800 costs.

After the hearing, Health and Safety Executive inspector Tania Shiffer commented:

“Work at height, such as roof work, is a high-risk activity that accounts for a high proportion of workplace serious injuries and fatalities each year.

There were not suitable or sufficient measures in place to prevent the risk of a person falling a distance liable to cause personal injury.

This is a good example of HSE working closely with local authority partners, helping Great Britain work well.”