Last updated: 22.12.11

Health and safety breach results in £53,000 fine for Essex firms

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has prosecuted three construction firms over careless breaches of rules and regulations, it has been revealed.

Further suggesting that online electrical courses for health and safety training could be advantageous, the Essex companies have faced a collective fine of £53,000 after a roofer fell five metres and suffered serious injuries.

According to the HSE, Jeremy Bishop, 46, from Romford, suffered injuries to his head, chest and back and was airlifted to the Royal London Hospital where he spent three weeks in intensive care before later being transferred for specialist care and rehabilitation treatment.

Mr Bishop is now confined to a wheelchair after suffering the debilitating damage to his body.

HSE inspector Adam Hills said: "The injuries Mr Bishop sustained were life-changing. He was in hospital for eight months, is still undergoing rehabilitation and will be in a wheelchair for the rest of this life."

Mr Hills added that employers need to be aware of the risks roof work poses and ensure that their staff are properly protected.
Harlow Magistrates Court heard that the three firms in question - V Page Building Services of Epping, Quality Roofs of Chingford and Access Specialists of Romford - failed to install intermediate guard rails along the entire rear elevation of the scaffolding and at the gable ends of the house.

"This could have been prevented if the companies and individuals had taken a few simple industry-standard safety precautions by installing the guard rails as edge protection," Mr Hills commented.

As well as the collective fine, the HSE served V Page Building Services with a prohibition notice to prevent further work on the roof until the guard rails were installed.

CITB-ConstructionSkills recently revealed that new health and safety tests will be taken electronically and will include an updated syllabus featuring environmental and respiratory hazards.