A COMPANY in South Tyneside has been ordered to pay more than £25,000 after breaching health and safety rules.
UTS Engineering Ltd, which is based in Pilgrims Way, on the Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow, was fined £24,000 and ordered to pay £1,146.80 in costs after pleading guilty to two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations.
Magistrates in South Tyneside were told the safety breaches had exposed workers to serious risks of injury from a fall while the firm was doing extensive repairs to the roof of its premises during September and October last year.
Work had already been carried out by one of its employees to inspect the roof, re-felt the canteen roof and clear the gutters.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) carried out an inspection on October 10 following a complaint and identified that the work was being carried out in an unsafe manner with employees at risk of falling from unprotected edges or through fragile roof material.
The HSE immediately issued a notice halting any further work until adequate fall protection measures were put in place.
Magistrates were told the job had not been properly planned and was not carried out by someone competent in this type of work.
The HSE investigation found that UTS Engineering had not assessed the fragility of parts of the roof or produced a safe method for the work to be done. Workers, it said, should have been protected by guard rails, and work near fragile materials should have been carried out from stagings to protect workers from falling through.
UTS Engineering is a global pipeline specialist.
After the case, HSE inspector Fiona McGarry said: “While it is fortunate that no one was injured during these extensive works, employees working on the roof were exposed unnecessarily to high levels of risk.
“Death and serious injury following falls from the edge of roofs or through fragile materials are all too common and proper planning is vital to ensure the work is carried out safely and the correct precautions are identified and used.”