With a long history in delivering the best training and guidance in the temporary and permanent suspended access industry, SAEMA is keen to share the following story about two construction companies that have been fined after a worker was seriously injured when part of an air conditioning plant fell on him as it was being lowered from a roof.
Southwark Crown Court heard that on 10th November 2017 three roofers had been working on Bromley High Street in London, finishing off a large roof refurbishment project.
The workers were instructed to dismantle a decommissioned air conditioning plant and remove it from the roof.
It was a windy day. As part of the plant was being lowered, it became detached from the hook and fell to the ground. It struck one of the workers on the pavement below, fracturing his left femur.
An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found that only a basic manual gin wheel was provided to lower the equipment, no one was assigned to supervise and none of the workers had any formal training on carrying out lifting operations or slinging loads. There were also other failings at the site relating to working at height, control of asbestos, emergency arrangements, manual handling and a total lack of any welfare facilities for the workers.
Principal contractor NMC Surfacing Limited (NMC) had subcontracted the roof refurbishment work to a smaller local business, Fraden Contracts Limited. The client was unaware that NMC had subcontracted the work. The court heard that NMC had provided the client with modified versions of Fraden’s risk assessment records with all references to Fraden erased.
NMC Surfacing Limited of Railway Court, Reading Bridge House, Reading was found guilty after a trial of a breach of Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
It was fined £350,000 and ordered to pay £45,122.36 in costs.
Fraden Contracts Limited of Northside House, Mount Pleasant, Barnet had already pleaded guilty to a breach of 15(2) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. It was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £6,015.26 in costs.
HSE inspector Andrew Verrall-Withers said after the hearing: “Little thought was giving to planning the lifting operation by the companies and it was the workers who identified passing members of the public were at risk and borrowed some barriers to try and protect them.
“It is vital construction companies do not assume that because workers have been in an industry for years, that they automatically know everything about how to safely use equipment.
“A worker suffered an injury which means he can no longer work as a roofer despite three decades of previous experience. He, or a passing member of the public, could have been killed.”