Roofing Insurance News - Roofing Firm in Court after Workers fall

Roofing Insurance News - Roofing Firm in Court after Workers fall

Roofing or any other specialist trade which involves height workcan significantly increase risk of injury, be it to a Employee (Employers Liability Insurance), or a member of the public (Public Liability Insurance) .

The price of Roofing Insurance can be a significant cost to your business and it is important to manage risk effectively to reduce your claims exposure and in turn your premium levels.

Hertfordshire roofing firm in court after worker’s fall

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that they have successfully prosecuted a Potters Bar based roofing firm, following an incident at a business park in Hoddesden on 3nd May 2011. The company was fined £17,500 after a 23rd year-old worker fell through a fragile asbestos cement roof where he was making temporary repairs.

He sustained serious fractures to his skull and an eye socket, a fractured wrist, major bruising to his back, a gash to his left leg and cuts to his head which required stitches and was hospitalised for a total of five days.

Stevenage Magistrates Court found them guilty of two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 at a hearing on 4th July 2014.  After the hearing HSE Inspector Paul Hoskins said:

“It is vital for those responsible for planning work to ensure they follow the correct precautions when anyone is working at height.”

“Reactive Roofing’s workers were exposed to unacceptable risks of falling from the roof or through the fragile asbestos sheets for several days. Their failures led to a young man being severely injured but could very easily have resulted in a fatality”

It’s not just Risk Assessments, but the Quality of the Risk Assessment that counts

The court heard that the firm had not fully assessed the risks and should have ensured that suitable equipment, such as platforms, coverings or guard rails was installed.

HSE told the court the proposed approach of using scaffold boards in isolation was inherently unsafe, as workers would have been at risk during the placement and removal of the boards, as well as during the installation of the wooden frames. This meant that the workers were at risk of falling through the roof at several points during the project.

Having a basic assessment plan is good practice, but it is vital that this is adequately reviewed for each-and-every individual job or you could risk similar prosecution should an employee suffer injury or your site be subject to HSE inspection.

The Risks of Working at Height

Falls whilst working at height represent one of the most common workplace accidents. The HSE confirmed that, since 2001, an average of 50 people a year are killed as a result of a fall from height and a further 8,702 are seriously injured.  

Hoskins confirmed:

“Simple measures such as using barriers to prevent access to fragile areas or safely installing adequate coverings over the fragile roof sheets would have meant workers were protected.

“It is essential that the hazards associated with working at height are recognised and understood by those carrying out the work. You should never work on a fragile roof without a safe system of work.”

Risk Management and Health & Safety

Managing risk to the public, clients and your employees is critical to your roofing business, particularly as a result of the increased legislation and regulation.  A robust Health and Safety and Risk Management programme is a vital tool in reducing risk (and in turn your Roofers Insurance premiums). 

Your Insurance Company or Broker should also be able to provide documentation and support around best practice and risk assessments, we would also suggest visiting the excellent HSE Working at Height Website for more information.

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FREE £250 Health & Safety Management Tool

Insync Insurance provides access to an online Health & Safety Management Tool for all Roofing Contractor clients. The system provides downloadable Risk Assessment templates, up-to-date legislation support and advice as well as access to a fully qualified H&S Consultant. 

The system usually retails for £250+VAT, but is made available completely FREE of charge to all Insync clients to help you manage risk and your business more effectively.

FREE Insurance Review

As Roofing Insurance specialists, Insync can provide a FREE review of your current Public and Employers Liability Insurance programme.  Our Insurance Guru’s can often improve your cover AND save you money by accessing one of our specialist insurance markets.  You can book a slot online via our website at a time that suits YOUR diary.  Alternatively call 0330 124 0730  for more information, we would love to hear from you. 

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About the Author

Jon Norman

I’m passionate about family, sport, technology and business.

In fact, I have always been fascinated by business, whether it was running the school tuck-shop or my Saturday job in the local store, I was always looking for ways to improve or view things differently.

I have enjoyed an amazing career fast approaching 25 years in the insurance industry, which has given me real insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by SME businesses in today’s ever-evolving marketplace.

I co-founded Insync Insurance, to offer companies a new way to buy and manage their business insurance. A synergy of digital servicing and personal expertise - utilising the latest technology to enhance relationships, not to replace them.