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Unsafe roof work leads to fine for builders

Unsafe roof work leads to fine for builders

11 January 2015 Email this article


A West Midlands building firm has been fined after twice being spotted carrying out unsafe roof work just days apart. 

An employee of Chohan Builders (West Midlands) Ltd was seen working on the roof of a house in Quinton on 13 June this year, having used a poorly-built tower scaffold to access the roof. 

A Prohibition Notice was served by the HSE as the access to the scaffolding was unsafe and there was no bracing. The notice immediately stopped work on the site until the scaffolding was improved and edge protection or another suitable platform was used. 

However, Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard in December that just five days later, on 18 June, a worker was spotted on a sloping garage roof with again no control measures in place to prevent the worker from falling. A second Prohibition Notice was served on the firm. 

Magistrates were told that although nobody was hurt at either location the fall risk was significant, and that allowing near-identical failings less than a week after the first unsafe practice was identified was wholly irresponsible. 

Chohan Builders (West Midlands) Ltd, of West Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £981 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.  

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gareth Langston said: “Work at height continues to be a key area for HSE, mainly because unsafe practices while carrying out this type of work continue to cause death and major injury. 

“This company was issued with two Prohibition Notices for essentially the same thing less than a week apart. Luckily, no-one was hurt, but this kind of repeated behaviour, which shows a wilful ignorance of the dangers of working at height, has to be brought before the court.”