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Tragic accident highlights vital important of safety systems

The following story of the tragic death of a roofer in Kirkdale, Liverpool, is particularly sad as it could so easily have been prevented through the use of a temporary safety system.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how on 22nd May 2017, the roofer was completing snagging work on a replacement roof. He had accessed a part of the old roof made of fragile asbestos cement sheets, which gave way. He fell through the sheets to the ground below sustaining fatal injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the area accessed did not have safety nets fitted and the building occupier failed to take reasonably practicable measures to reduce the risk to those working on the roof.

Owners of the building Pearsons Glass, of Maddrell Street, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, sections 3. The company was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,656.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew McGrory said: “The risks from working on fragile surfaces are well known.

“Businesses have a responsibility to ensure that the contractor they select to undertake any construction work devise safe methods of doing so, which should include providing the necessary information to their workers and ensuring that they are adequately supervised.”

The prosecution of the roofing contractor is ongoing.

SAEMA (Specialist Access Engineering & Maintenance Association) exists to promote safer practice in working at height through the provision of the best training and guidance available. We believe that while the above story makes difficult reading, it is important that it is shared as a way of highlighting the great value of temporary safety systems.

The No Falls Foundation (NFF) is the charity dedicated to preventing falls from height and helping people affected by the consequences of a fall. The NFF raises funds, organises appeals and campaigns to raise awareness of the life-changing injuries that can be sustained following a fall from height and objects falling from height.

To enable people to learn about how temporary and permanent access systems work and how to use them safely, SAEMA has produces high-quality, subject-specific and quality-assured resources, so that participates can learn safely and effectively.

A full range of guidance is available at our website. Please also talk to us about the benefits of becoming a SAEMA member.