Trader fined after balancing act on van roof

Posted on 24th Jun, 2014 | By Lorretta Tatham

With all the working at heights training courses available, you’d think that every thriving business would think about safety. Not so: the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has just reported on another unsafe working at heights case that left a rogue roofer looking more like a circus act…

Transit van roof and double extension ladder: a winning combination?

Not unless you’re a professional dare-devil. However, in March last year, roofer George Nicholls of Laser Roofing London had other ideas.

After a call from a concerned member of the public, Nicholls was spotted by a council environmental health officer balancing atop a double extension ladder on the roof of his transit van while painting a third-floor shop frontage.

More shocking still, the reckless roofer had parked his van over a bus stop on a busy road with double yellow lines. He had also failed to obtain a pavement licence, or cordon off the area below, putting not only himself and his labourer at risk, but risking the safety of pedestrians walking beneath.

Tempted to save money by cutting corners? Think again!

Two of the biggest reasons for working at height safety breaches are time and money. In this case, the preferred method of access for the job had been identified as a ladder. However, when Nicholls arrived at the premises, he found that the façade was much higher than anticipated.

The HSE established that, at a height of eight metres, Nicholls should have been working from scaffolding or a mobile elevated work platform. Instead, he chose to improvise – a decision that cost both him and his contractor dearly.

Maintenance 24-7 Ltd, who subcontracted the work to Nicholls, was fined £10,000 with £784 in costs. Nicholls himself was ordered to pay £4,000 and ordered to pay £666 in costs.

Do you staff use ladders? Our working at height courses can keep them safe.

Taking part in a working at heights training course would have been a small price to pay compared to the hefty fines faced by Nicholls – and it would have enabled him to make a better decision when the time came!

At Browns Ladders, we’re experts in delivering safety training that can protect your business and keep your staff safe.

We deliver a selection of working at height courses suited to any industry: our expert staff can help you decide which of our courses are ideal for your business. From our Nationally Accredited Ladders And Steps User Course to our specific Working At Heights Training Course, we’ve got the expertise you need to stay compliant with the latest Health and Safety regulations.

Contact us today on 0845 130 9225 to find out more about our range of working at height courses and other safety training.

Many companies persist with working at height unsafely, despite the danger. Share your working at height horror stories in the comments below or tweet us @BrownsLadders!

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