A Birmingham maintenance company has been fined after a worker died as a result of falling from the roof of a five-storey building.
Birmingham Crown Court heard how H20 Plumbing Services Limited were contracted to carry out repairs to two motor rooms situated on the roof of a building on Hagley Road, Birmingham. Two workers set up a station immediately outside of a protected area in which to mix some mortar due to lack of space. The mixing station consisted of a tarpaulin sheet placed on top of the roof with a plasterer’s bath placed on top. The corners of the tarpaulin sheet were weighted down with bags of rubble.
At the end of the working day, the employees were cleaning up and as they moved the mixing bath, the sheet of tarpaulin blew open due to the wind and landed over the edge of the building. As one of the workers attempted to retrieve the sheet he stepped off the side of the building, falling 14 metres, suffering fatal injuries.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident which occurred on 10 October 2014 found that H20 Plumbing Services Limited failed to ensure the safety of its employees during the external repair work.
After the incident, HSE Inspector Amy Kalay commented: “This incident was obviously foreseeable. The employees of H20 working at the site were effectively left to their own devices with equipment and a system that was not wholly suited for the task at hand.
“A suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk, suitable planning, implementation of suitable control measures and adequate and effective site supervision would have prevented this incident from occurring.” H20 Plumbing Services Limited, of Lee Trading Estate, College Road, Perry Barr, Birmingham pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £25,000.
Phoenix Comment “Work at height is a highly hazardous activity and requires careful planning, management and supervision. This system of work employed in this case was completely unacceptable and has resulted in the needless death of a worker”.