Caught in the act! Roofer fined after photographer snaps unsafe conditions

by Alex on December 10, 2013

Post image for Caught in the act! Roofer fined after photographer snaps unsafe conditions

Photo: HSE

You might think it’s easy to get away with cutting corners on risk reduction measures, but, as a West London roofer recently discovered, it doesn’t take a safety inspection to land slacking firms in court- just a pedestrian with a camera.

At least two workers employed by the Southall-based roofer were installing tiling on a property in Harrow when a passing council member noticed that the site had no protection to prevent a fall. A closer look showed that no apparent protective measures were in place at all, meaning that workers, equipment and materials were all at risk of falling from the roof.

All it took were a few photos of the unsafe site to get HSE on the case, which ultimately resulted in the roofer being prosecuted. During the hearing, it was revealed to Westminster Magistrates’ Court that his firm had previously received warnings for similar breaches regarding work at height.

It makes sense that tradesmen like this roofer would view repeatedly skimping on health and safety measures as worthwhile. Formatting and filling out RAMS documents is time consuming, and contracting outside admin help is costly. HSE inspectors don’t normally make surprise visits, and HSE only prosecuted 597 cases and 973 breaches over the 2012/13 period, a tiny number compared to the hundreds of thousands of active construction workers in the UK.

But what these tradesmen fail to understand is that if they get caught, the consequences are severe. 95% of cases brought to court by HSE end in a conviction, and while our roofer was only fined £2,000, firms are often penalised with fines reaching tens of thousands. And as the wandering council member showed, any member of the public can report unsafe working environments- not just inspectors.

In the end, it’s better for your firm’s reputation and your workers’ wellbeing to actually ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place, and that starts with comprehensive documentation. That’s where HANDS HQ comes in. Our pre-formatted RAMS documents mean all you need to do is put in your site-specific details, and our hazard management library will provide you with potential solutions to mitigate your onsite risks.

Try HANDS HQ now, for a quicker, cheaper, and easier way to keep risks low and your profits high.


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