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A developer, scaffolding company, its director and a roofer have been sentenced after a worker fell around seven metres to his death in Staffordshire.

 

Stafford Crown Court on Tuesday (2 Dec) heard that, on 29 December 2010, experienced roofer Phillip Lonergan was installing the roof on a new warehouse being built by E2 Developments Ltd on land at Cotton Lane, Fauld, Tutbury.

 

He was standing on the edge of the roof when he slipped and fell through a gap of more than 50 centimetres between two scaffolding rails erected to form temporary edge protection.

 

Mr Lonergan, 36, of Burton-on-Trent, died in hospital the same day from head injuries.

 

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that the edge protection had been provided by Nottinghamshire-based Albion Tower and Scaffold Ltd. The company’s director, Lee Cotterill, who had no formal qualifications as a scaffolder, had overall control of the design, planning and construction of the edge protection and personally signed it off as being safe.

 

The edge protection was in the form of two scaffolding guardrails running around the roof edge, which were attached to horizontal scaffolding tubes. However, British Standards only allow a minimum of two guardrails to be in place when the angle of the roof is ten degrees or less. The roof Mr Lonergan was working on had a pitch of 20 degrees.

 

Roofer Peter Allum was approached by E2 to install the roof panels and he, in turn, offered a number of roofers the work, including Mr Lonergan. He was supplied with the roof plans showing the 20-degree angle in October 2010 but failed to deal with the risks posed by the inadequate edge protection.

 

The investigation also found E2 Developments was not aware of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 which required the company, as the client, to notify HSE of the work and appoint a competent scheme co-ordinator and principal contractor.

 

BS EN 13374:2013 stipulates 3 classes of edge protection for working on roofs.

 

Class A

 

Protection systems are intended to provide resistance to static loads only based on the requirements to support a person leaning on the protection or provide a hand hold when walking beside it and stop a person who is walking or falling towards the protection. This system should not be used if the angle of the working surface is more than 10°. The system should not deviate from the vertical by more than 15° with a perpendicular height from the work surface of 1 metre. If an intermediate guardrail is fitted there should be no gap that would allow a 470mm dia sphere to pass through. If there is no intermediate guardrail or it is not continuous it shall be constructed to prevent a sphere of 250mm dia passing through it.

 

Class B

 

Protection systems should provide resistance to static loads and low dynamic forces only based on the requirements as required by Class A and also arrest the fall of a person sliding down a sloping surface. This system may be used if the angle is less than 30° without limitation of the fall height, or up to 60° if the fall height is less than 2 metres. The system should not deviate from vertical by more than 15° with a perpendicular height from the work surface of 1 metre. Any gap should be dimensioned so that a sphere of 250mm dia will not pass through it.

 

Class C

 

Protection systems should provide resistance to high dynamic forces based on the requirements to arrest the fall of a person falling down a steeply sloping surface. This system may be used if the angle is between 35° and 45° without limitation of the falling height, or 45° and 60° if the falling height is less than 5 metres. The system should be erected so that the protection is positioned between the vertical plane and perpendicular to the roof plane and should be dimensioned so that a sphere of 100mm dia will not pass through them.


Info Bite 155
December 2014