Working At Heights: companies continue to court danger

Posted on 4th May, 2014 | By Lorretta Tatham

court-house

A Manchester company discovered the cost of working at height without the proper precautions when one of its employees was photographed cleaning a roof with no safety measures in place – a clear breach of Health and Safety regulations.

IQ Roofing Solutions fell foul of the law even though no accident occurred, as reported in the Daily Mail: Health and Safety Executives ordered the company to cease working until proper scaffolding structures had been put in place – the company was then taken to court and fined £3000 for the breach.

No excuse for unsafe working at heights

During the case it became clear that IQ Roofing Solutions’ Managing Director, Stuart Bell, had visited the site in the morning and was fully aware that staff would be working at height later on that day – and that no safety measures were in place.

Mr Bell was told that, without the required scaffolding or harness in place, the employee may have easily slipped and fallen, suffering potentially life-threatening injuries.

The company pleaded guilty of two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and one breach of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. The MD was also fined £1,000 for his part in the breach and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,619.

Employers continue to put lives at risk

Most troubling for Health and Safety officials was the fact that IQ Roofing Solutions have been charged with breaking the law on safe height working before, in 2011. The company was therefore fully aware of their obligation to provide a safe working environment for their employees.

Laura Moran, a Health and Safety Executive, underlined the importance of safe working at heights: “Falls from height are responsible for around a third of workplace deaths every year, with 25 people losing their lives in 2012/13 alone.”

She also made clear that IQ Roofing Solutions and Stuart Bell had put employees’ lives at risk: “If workers had been injured then they may not have been able to claim compensation as the firm also failed to provide us with any proof that it had Employers’ Liability Insurance.”

A working at heights training course can keep your staff safe

Moran’s comments are a reminder that there’s no excuse for unsafe working, particularly when the risks are so high. But it’s also important to stress that ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse if an accident does take place.

Browns Ladders offer In House working at heights courses that ensure your employees are safe at work, and we include a straightforward presentation lecture on the aspects of Health and Safety law relevant to safe working at heights, so both employees and employers know where they stand.

A working at heights course comes with a three-year certificate that states the employee has received training and understands safe work at heights.

If you are interested in ensuring your working practises comply with Health and Safety regulations, or simply want to make sure your staff are able to work safely at heights, contact Browns Ladders today. To discuss working at heights training courses on the phone, call 0845 130 9225 today or use the instant chat function below.

Have your employees been on a Browns Ladders Working at Heights Course? Tell us about it in the comments below or tweet us @BrownsLadders.

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