A roofing firm has been sentenced after a worker was spotted balancing dangerously on a house roof in Lymm, Warrington.
The employee at M&D Roof Coatings was seen power washing the sloping roof while standing at the edge, without any safety precautions in place to stop him falling to the ground below.
The company was prosecuted by the Health & Safety Executive following routine inspections in the town on 5 May last year.
Halton Magistrates' Court in Runcorn heard the employee was photographed working nearly five metres above the ground on the roof of a semi-detached house in Grasmere Road.
Inspectors immediately issued a prohibition notice, ordering the work to stop, until scaffolding, edge protection or other safety equipment had been provided.
M&D Roof Coatings was found guilty of breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 by failing to make sure the work was planned and carried out safely.
The company, of Marsland Road in Sale, was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £7,269 on 14 March 2011.
John Ellis, HSE Inspector, said: "It's incredible that workers were expected to power wash a roof while standing on it, without any scaffolding or edge protection to stop them falling.
"Working on a roof without safety precautions is dangerous enough, but the risk of falling was increased by the fact that moss and other detritus were being washed off the roof. One slip and the worker would have fallen to the ground, resulting in him being seriously injured or even killed.
"Falls from height are among the biggest causes of workplace deaths in the UK. Roofing firms should therefore ensure that they have safe systems of work in place to protect their employees and others."
Last year, the HSE said more than 4,000 workers suffered major injuries as the result of falls from height and 12 lost their lives.