A roofing contractor has been fined after a health and safety inspector came across two workers jet washing a steeply pitched roof on a house without adequate protection.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard that on 5 December 2019, a HSE inspector observed the employees of Improvearoof LLP on the roof of a detached property in Hale Barns using two powerful jet washers unsafely; and without any means of fall protection such as scaffolding or harnesses. The inspector issued a prohibition notice and the work was stopped until suitable measures were put in place.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that poor planning from management led to the failure of the erection of scaffolding prior to the work being carried out.

Improvearoof LLP of Macclesfield Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 4(1) and 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. The company was fined £20,000, ordered to pay costs of £2,981.20 and a victim surcharge of £180.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Phil Redman said: “Although the two workers should have raised concerns immediately with site management regarding the lack of scaffolding, it was the responsibility of the company to manage the job safely.

“Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work-related fatalities in this country and the risks associated with working at height are well known. Companies should be aware that unsafe work at height without suitable and sufficient controls in place is not acceptable and HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below the required standards.”

Site Safety Plus certificate expiry

During the COVID-19 crisis, CITB provided a grace period for delegates whose SMSTS/SSSTS achievement had expired after 15 March 2020. The last updated grace period allowed delegates who were unable to access a refresher course before their certificate expired until the 30 November 2020 to join onto a SSSTS / SMSTS refresher, instead of having to sit the full course.

Due to uncertainty around local and national lockdowns and the fast approaching shutdown for the Christmas period, the CITB took the decision to extend this grace period further to support those delegates who have been unable to access the relevant refresher course.

All delegates now have until 31 January 2021 to join a SSSTS/SMSTS refresher course, if their current certificate expired after the 15 March 2020.

It is important to note that this grace period will not be extended any further, so we would advise that all delegates take this opportunity to attend the appropriate refresher course to avoid the need to attend the full course again.