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The STS blog

14 Jan 2015

High Price to Pay for Property Developer That Fell Short of Working at Height Regulations

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South Wales Company Fined By HSE For Un-safe Work Practices

A property development company in Gwent, South-East Wales, have been fined after endangering the lives of their employees through carrying out dangerous roof work. Formaction Ltd landed themselves with over £3,000 worth of fines and the company’s director, Derek Bawn, was fined over £6,000.

It was a passing member of the public that spotted the dangers and informed the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of their worries concerning the company, Formaction Ltd, and their work installing a new roof at The Gulf Works.

HSE inspected the grounds immediately and found there to be work under-way that was not abiding by Health and Safety rules. Three people were working on a fragile pitched roof which was somewhere between 5 and 8 metres off the ground, and with no safety measures in place to stop the workers from falling through the roof, or off onto the concrete below.

Formaction Ltd and their director Derek Bawn were prosecuted at Cardiff Magistrates Court on April 4th 2014 for breaching several work at height regulations. With no safety measures in place, HSE served a safety notice ensuring that all work stopped until the correct safety measures were in place and an asbestos survey had been conducted.

Safety measures that should have been in place include something to cushion the fall, things like safety nets; specialist airbags or beanbags; or wearing a harness or fall arrest system. Probably the most shocking discoveries for HSE was that there was no safe access to and from the roof and the workers had been climbing over the fragile sloping roof or climbing and climbing over the top of the safety rails in a cherry picker. Health and Safety Executive rules state that the proper safety provisions for this would have been staging boards to spread the weight over a fragile surface, and guard rails around the exposed edges.

The company from Aberbeeg, Gwent, pleaded guilty to breaking regulations 6 (3) and 9 (2) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Formaction Limited were fined £3,000 and had to pay costs of £1,323 whilst Derek Bawn faced £6,000 worth of fines with costs of £1,323.