A Stoke-on-Trent company has been stung with a £10,000 fine after a passer-by spotted an employee cleaning a roof without proper protection to stop him from falling.
The eagle-eyed member-of-the-public saw the man standing on top of a two-storey property in Cheddleton, Staffordshire, using a jet washer to clean the tiles.
They took photos of the incident, on October 25 last year, and contacted the Health and Safety Executive, who launched an investigation.
Staffordshire Magistrates Court heard last week that Roof Right UK Ltd had routinely arranged for jobs to be carried out without suitable safety equipment.
They have been prohibited from carrying out any further work unless proper protection, such as scaffolding, is in place. Apart from the sizeable fine, the firm face costs of £1277.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Andrew Bowker said: “I would like to thank the member-of-the-public for bringing this matter to our attention as they have undoubtedly prevented a serious injury.
“It is staggering to me that a company operating in 2013 thought that it was acceptable to allow workers onto pitched property roofs to carry out jet washing work without providing scaffolding or other suitable falls protection measures.
“Roof Right UK Ltd put workers’ lives in danger by allowing them onto a slippery roof without suitable safety measures being in place. They failed to recognise their responsibility to ensure that work at height carried out under their control was done safely.”
Falls are responsible for a third of workplace deaths every year, with 25 people losing their lives in 2012/13. Many more suffer injuries as a result of such incidents.