A persistent refusal to install edge protection at a poultry farm ended with five people going to court to face prosecution by the Health & Safety Executive.
In an example of ‘prevention is better than cure’, the HSE took action against a Lincolnshire poultry firm and four contractors, even though no injuries were sustained by workers.
The reason for the action was a continual failure to install adequate edge protection, despite several enforcement notices being served on the premises, along with clear instructions to halt all roof work until safety precautions had been installed.
Offences in this incident date back to March 13th 2012, when the HSE visited the site in Wigtoft and found four workers on a sloping roof with no edge protection or scaffolding, and only an unsecured ladder some ten metres from the workers.
A subsequent visit showed slight attempts at improvement – a scaffold tower and cushioning airbags – but the latter were loose and would not have successfully broken a fall.
Two of the contractors were found to have previous convictions for working without edge protection on poultry house roofs, and together the five were fined over £45,000 with over £38,000 costs.
HSE inspector Martin Waring said: “Working at height poses very obvious dangers but our visits uncovered a catalogue of safety breaches which could have had led to a fatal or very serious injury for a worker had they fallen.
“There was a continued and deliberate neglect of duties by particular parties in this case, and directors who disregard their responsibilities will be held personally accountable.”