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Well Blow Me Down - Director Fined For Being Blown Off Roof

Abbotsfield School for Boys in Hillingdon
31 July 2019

A director of a construction has seen his company (along with two others) fined when he was blown off an unsafe roof. 

The three firms, Bowmer and Kirkland, Advance Roofing and JKW Roofing were working on the roof of the new three storey teaching block of Abbotsfield School for Boys in Hillingdon.

It was JKW Roofing's John Whitham who received serious injuries after falling 11 metres when a gust from Storm Doris sent him tumbling.  

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard how on 23rd February the storm was moving across the UK bringing gusts of wind up to 94 mph. Because of the winds there were numerous warnings on site and many activities had been suspended. The roof works continued however, until the early afternoon when Whitham fell. The gust also sent freestanding A-frame barriers and stacks of insulation over the edge. Whitham sustained severe injuries to his pelvis, vertebrae and tibia from which he continues to suffer.

Bowmer and Kirkland were the principal contractor on the project. Advanced Roofing were contracted to carry out the roofing works on the project and had sub-contracted the substantive roofing works on the main building to JKW Roofing while using its own workers on other areas.


Not in line with industry standards

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found all three contractors had failed to ensure that a suitable and sufficient system to assess the effects of high wind when working at height was being followed. The companies had taken an informal approach to assessing weather conditions which was not in line with industry standards.

Bowmer and Kirkland Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £350,000 and ordered to pay £6,190.28 in costs.

Advanced Roofing Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and were fined £29,300 and ordered to pay £6,187.88 in costs.

JKW Roofing Services Limited pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 4(3) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and received a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £6,159.48 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Gabriella Dimitrov said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to the workers in the safe system of working. If a suitable safe system of work had been in place prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by Mr Whitham could have been prevented.”

The case was heard on 25 July 2019.


Two companies fined after employee falls from height

July 29 saw two firms fined after an employee fell through a roof onto a concrete floor below.

Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how on 23  January 2018 an employee of Italian construction company Zamperoni F.lli srl was refurbishing a shed structure at casting company Bifrangi UK, Lincoln.

As a man worked on the roof he stepped backwards from metal sheeting he was standing on onto a fragile roof light. The plastic material broke under his weight and he fell 5.44 metres to the ground. He sustained two broken arms and three broken ribs.

An investigation by the HSE revealed both companies failed to risk assess and plan all aspects of the construction work on site and failed to ensure the risks from the fragile roof lights were adequately controlled. Both companies also failed to ensure there was adequate safe access onto the roof of the shed. There was inadequate supervision and management checks throughout the work. They also failed to act on the previous instances of unsafe work to ensure safety.

Bifrangi UK pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act and was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,607.

Zamperoni F.lli srl of Via Strada Muson, 17-31011 Asolo (TV) Italy was not present in court but in its absence was fined £54,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,240.


Picture: A director of a roofing company was blown from the roof of the new three storey teaching block of Abbotsfield School for Boys in Hillingdon.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 31 July 2019


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