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firesafety101  
#1 Posted : 16 November 2023 11:25:52(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

Would you report to HSE a roofing contractor working on a house roof without any fall protection at all.

thunderchild  
#2 Posted : 16 November 2023 13:52:32(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
thunderchild

Yes, possibly with a photo

Roundtuit  
#3 Posted : 16 November 2023 13:54:16(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

If you were bothering I would recommend pictures of the operatives on the roof and the works van or similar because you can guarantee they will be long gone before an inspector appears.

Took five days for someone to come back when we reported works on an adjacent factory roof

thanks 2 users thanked Roundtuit for this useful post.
Kate on 16/11/2023(UTC), Kate on 16/11/2023(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#4 Posted : 16 November 2023 13:54:16(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

If you were bothering I would recommend pictures of the operatives on the roof and the works van or similar because you can guarantee they will be long gone before an inspector appears.

Took five days for someone to come back when we reported works on an adjacent factory roof

thanks 2 users thanked Roundtuit for this useful post.
Kate on 16/11/2023(UTC), Kate on 16/11/2023(UTC)
firesafety101  
#5 Posted : 16 November 2023 19:05:05(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

Thanks, I've sent the report online.  Not easy at first but very easy as I went through.

thanks 1 user thanked firesafety101 for this useful post.
Kate on 16/11/2023(UTC)
peter gotch  
#6 Posted : 16 November 2023 19:10:10(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

firesafety, possibly, possibly not depending on a number of factors.

First the nature of the work might be such as to make "fall protection\" which means different things to different people not reasonably practicable.

Then there is the issue of how long the work is likely to take and whether it is realistic to expect a rapid HSE response given the stretched resources and an HSE poliey on complaints which means that follow up to a third party complaint much less likely than it once was.

However, noting what has already been said the online complaints system does include a feature to upload photos and if you can get the name of the or one of the Contractors from a van it does make HSE's life that bit easier.

To put the stretch on HSE resources into some sort of perspective, some years back I made a complaint a few years ago about two men on the sloping roof of a five storey building across the road from Glasgow Central station and just 200m from HSE's office. So, not only could either or both have fallen but they could have landed on a member of the public, or for that matter on a bus. Didn't even get an acknowledgement of the complaint from HSE.

Going back to the top of this response. I have investigated 10 fatal accidents involving roofwork or access to such work. In one of them I concluded that the nature and duration of the work was such that "fall protection" was NOT reasonably practicable.

damian2701  
#7 Posted : 29 November 2023 12:20:41(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
damian2701

Let get things into perspective - a friend of mine (self-employed) has landed himself in hospital with and I quote:

  • A fractured skull from front to back
  • Fractured left wrist
  • Crushed right arm
  • Elbow dislocated and fractured from elbow right down to his wrist
  • Fractured Rib Cage
  • Kidney Damage

He has just undergone a 10-hour operation on his arm where such were his injuries the -surgeons had to take a skin graft from his leg to help seal the wound.

He will be in hospital right the way through the Xmas period and New Year, his wife has posted a fundraising page on face book to help with finances now that her husband is bed ridden in hospital for the foreseeable future.

All because he was carrying out a simple short duration roof repair with a mastic gun without adequate edge protection.

The question begs(now that he's out on an induced coma).........if you knew then what you know now (and currently experiencing).....would you have done things differently?????

peter gotch  
#8 Posted : 29 November 2023 13:55:49(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Damian

Quite possibly, YES.

The assesement of what is "reasonably practicable" is to be made in advance of work happening (though it might be necessary to change any decision in the light of what is actually found on site - so a dynamic risk assessment or whatever you wish to call it) NOT with the benefit of hindsight.

So, without an understanding of the actual circumstances where your friend has been injured it is impossible to comment on what would have been "reasonably practicable".

Those two words tell us that the law does NOT expect work to be risk free.

People can and do fall over "on the level" and sustain injuries comparable to those you have described, sometimes fatally. But we don't USUALLY require guard-rails and toe-boards to stop someone falling on the level.

...and for roofwork, what is reasonably practicable will depend on multiple variables INCLUDING the risks associated with whatever mitigations might be under consideration as protection from falls.

As example, the classic solution for edge protection is to erect scaffolding on one or more elevations. That puts scaffolders at risk when they are erecting and dismantling AND other risks that might not be as immediately obvious - e.g. the off site risks of getting a flat bed truck to and from site.

Another solution would be permanent protection - but that comes with its own problems. Increased need for access simply to inspect and maintain. I know of three sets of railings to protect against falls into basement wells from the footpaths that have failed within 200m of where I live, at least two with resultant injuries. Circa 1880 cast iron railings that had not been kept in good repair.

There is one regular speaker who talks about his accident when similar railings on a hotel failed, with the difference being that those railings were much higher up.

O'Donnell54548  
#9 Posted : 07 December 2023 08:19:49(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
O'Donnell54548

Originally Posted by: firesafety101 Go to Quoted Post

Would you report to HSE a roofing contractor working on a house roof without any fall protection at all.

No, it's none of your business. 

peter gotch  
#10 Posted : 07 December 2023 13:43:16(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi O'Donnell

There is the school of thought that says that the OSH professional (and others) should take the principles of H&S at their workplaces home with them and that they should do something about anything that looks dangerous.

Some would suggest challenging the people at risk - in itself introducing new risks such as interrupting the person at risk such that they may be more likely to have an accident, or the possibility that the person at risk decides to take it out on the person who challenges them - a fairly realistic result if dealing with the proverbial "cowboy builder".

Personally I consider each case on its merits which include how likely some unsafe scenario may continue and how likely it might be that HSE might have the time to take action EVEN if it decides that this is appropriate.

Overall, this means that it is rare that I make a complaint to the HSE or other enforcing authority.

firesafety101  
#11 Posted : 07 December 2023 13:43:20(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

As a health & safety professional, CMIOSH of many years, I feel I have a duty to do something about workers being exposed to risks by their employer not doing what I believe they should.  Therefore it is 'my business'.

I am aware providing scaffolding or mobile towers add expense to the job which most householders will not like and they would usually get a second/third quote and choose the cheapest.  In this case there is an employer whose duty it is to keep their employees safe.

peter gotch  
#12 Posted : 07 December 2023 17:02:42(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

firesafety

Let's suppose it's a four storey building with direct access from dormer or roof hatch.

....and the job will take 30 minutes.

Do you think that erecting (and, later, striking) a full height scaffold to at least one elevation would be reasonably practicable?

Kate  
#13 Posted : 08 December 2023 10:49:10(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kate

Right, but firesafety's scenario was "without any fall protection at all" which to me means no scaffold, no barriers, no harness, no anything.  That sounds extremely precarious.

firesafety101  
#14 Posted : 08 December 2023 12:45:08(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

If I saw a harness and safety line I would not have posted about this.  They had one single ladder pitched to the roof edge with no method of footing or tieing, access fron the ladder to the pitched roof was from top of the ladder, and in reverse for coming down.

Surprises me that some of the safety professionals on here are trying to avoid recognised H&S practices.

I still await feedback from HSE.

peter gotch  
#15 Posted : 08 December 2023 15:29:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Kate

Yesterday, firesafety101 expanded on the initial question, by giving us a clue as to what they might be expecting:

I am aware providing scaffolding or mobile towers add expense to the job

Which implies that they thought this would be needed. So I posed a question about "reasonable practicability" which is the legal test.

Now we have a slightly better idea of what the job actually is - so NOT a four storey building, perhaps a two storey house.

So, for a short duration job, HSE guidance would be to (a) secure the access ladder close to the top e.g. with a spreader bar or (b) secure it lower down or (c) foot it, in that order of preference.....

....and then if a sloping roof to use a roof ladder - but NOT "scaffolding or mobile towers" - as the risk to the scaffolders is likely to outweigh the protection afforded to the roofer(s), whilst it also possible that the roofer could fall despite the "scaffolding or mobile towers"

It's all been in more than one iteration of HSG33 for many years and in HSE guidance that preceded it. 

If it was a four storey building with permanent access via dormer window or roof hatch it might be quite likely that there is no suitable place to attach a harness to. Lots of problems with using harnesses and lines which vary according to the nature of the roof and the work to be done.

As example, in theory I could get permanent ridge and/or slope mounted anchorages fitted on the multipitched rooves of our Basement + 4 storeys building, but such anchorages would never get Listed Building consent.

If people on these Forums frame their questions in such vague terms it can hardly be surprising if they get Devil's Advocate responses.

O'Donnell54548  
#16 Posted : 11 December 2023 08:33:40(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
O'Donnell54548

Originally Posted by: firesafety101 Go to Quoted Post

As a health & safety professional, CMIOSH of many years, I feel I have a duty to do something about workers being exposed to risks by their employer not doing what I believe they should.  Therefore it is 'my business'.

I am aware providing scaffolding or mobile towers add expense to the job which most householders will not like and they would usually get a second/third quote and choose the cheapest.  In this case there is an employer whose duty it is to keep their employees safe.

As a retired H&S Practitioner, also CMIOSH for many years with experience in a variety of industries, I repeat "none of your business".  

thanks 1 user thanked O'Donnell54548 for this useful post.
peter gotch on 11/12/2023(UTC)
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