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15th February 2023

Company fined £120,000 after Fatal Fall During Roof Work

man replacing roof

What’s Happened?

A West Yorkshire-based company has recently been fined £120,000 after a dad died following a fall from the roof of a building site.

The employee and a co-worker were using ropes to install a lightning protection system to the front of a Warrington office block being converted into flats, it is understood that as he was lowering the access equipment from the roof (using a rope attached to a frame at roof level and a handrail at ground level) both he and the frame fell from the roof to the ground.

HSE Investigation

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was undertaken into the incident which found that his employer – PTSG Electrical Services Limited, failed to adequately assess the risks associated with this work, giving little consideration to the work at height hierarchy of control and opting for personal protection measures over more suitable collective protection measures, such as scaffolding or a mobile elevating work platform.

Work at Height

Falls from height remain one of the UK’s biggest causes of workplace fatalities and major injuries.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 adopts a ‘hierarchy of control’ which must be considered before commencement of any work at height.

These are:

  • avoid work at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so;
  • where work at height cannot be avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment (Collective measures;
  • minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated (Personal measures).

The HSE have produced detailed guidance notes which give further detail and practical examples of how to implement the above steps and ensure compliance with the law.

In Court

PTSG Electrical Services attended Wirral Magistrates Court on 9th February 2023 where they pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay £5448.51 in costs.

The HSE inspector involved in the case said: “Our thoughts today are with the family of Dennis Vincent, a young dad and husband who did not return home on 24 February 2021 because of the failings of his employer.

“This incident could easily have been avoided by better planning of the work to ensure adequate controls were in place to prevent falls from the roof.

“Companies should be aware that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

If you have any queries regarding work at height, including risk assessment, employee training or suitability of equipment etc – then do not hesitate to contact our adviceline on 0300 303 5228.

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