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Roofers Prosecuted for Endangering Themselves and Others

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today warned individuals and companies that failure to ensure the safety of those who work at height and the public will not go unpunished.

Dean Soley and his father George, trading as D&G Soley, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by ignoring the obviously high level of danger to themselves and others.

Dean and George Soley were each fined £500 and a total of £1,000 awarded to the prosecution at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on 4 October 2007 after failing to ensure that no material or object was thrown or tipped from height, where it was liable to cause personal injury and for failing to take measures to prevent any person falling from the roof where they were working.

On 3 April 2007, three people were observed working on the roof of a commercial building in Waterloo Street Kidderminster and standing close to an unprotected drop while throwing large items of debris into a unprotected skip, approximately 30ft (10m) below, alongside the pavement where pedestrians were passing.

The case was brought by the HSE after a prohibition notice had been served for all roof work to cease. Such was the high degree of danger to the public and to those working that the prosecution was pursued.

Speaking after the case HSE Inspector Katharine Walker said: “Each year people continue to lose their lives or suffer injury due to failure to ensure safe working at height. The risks from falls from even short distances are well known so those in charge of work at height should ensure that they, their employees and others are protected. In this case, it would have been relatively inexpensive to put protective rails on the roof, a chute for debris and a covering over the skip with surrounded fencing to protect the public.

If left to carry on the roof work the court case against the Soleys could so easily, like many others, have involved a fatality or serious injury.

”It seems incredible that, in this day and age, the dangers were abundantly clear to concerned onlookers yet those supposedly professionally engaged in work were willing to flout important safety legislation where they should have automatically provided suitable protection. The Soleys should be thankful that the vigilance of bystanders and HSE inspectors did not allow their practices to end in tragedy.”

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