Roofers urged to attend Salford safety event

Michael Hunt

Roofers and building firms in Greater Manchester are being advised to improve safety standards after nearly 180 formal warnings about work at height were issued last year.

Health & Safety Executive inspectors served 148 enforcement notices in the county in 2009, immediately stopping unsafe work being carried out at height. They issued another 29 requiring safety improvements to be made.

More than 100 roofers across Greater Manchester are being encouraged to attend a free safety awareness event tonight, or risk an unannounced visit from an inspector.

The Health & Safety Executive is concerned that some companies may be trying to save money by allowing employees to work on roofs without scaffolding or other safety equipment, putting lives at risk.

The free safety event at Clifton Territorial Army Centre, located on Manchester Road in Clifton, has been organised as part of a joint initiative with Trading Standards. It will aim to raise awareness about the dangers of working on roofs without scaffolding, and of the standard of work expected in the industry.

The event has been organised as part of the Working Well Together initiative, a partnership between the Health & Safety Executive and the construction industry, which aims to improve health and safety in the sector.

Neil Jamieson, a principal inspector for the Health & Safety Executive in the North West, said: "We're worried that some roofing and building companies in Greater Manchester are trying to cut down on costs and undercut each other by not using scaffolding and other safety equipment.

"Falls from height kill dozens of workers every year and seriously injure hundreds more. But the number of deaths will carry on rising if firms don't accept they're putting their workers in danger.

"We will continue to take action against companies that do not take the safety of their workers seriously, and will prosecute those that fail to provide the necessary scaffolding.

"It simply isn't worth companies trying to cut costs if lives are going to be put at risk. And it will cost them time and money in the long run if we decide to take any kind of enforcement action."

The following table lists the number of enforcement notices issued in Greater Manchester in 2009 covering breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

Local authority area

Prohibition notices

Improvement notices

Total

Bolton

24

3

27

Bury

3

2

5

Manchester

15

0

15

Oldham

9

5

14

Rochdale

12

5

17

Salford

8

5

13

Stockport

33

4

37

Tameside

9

1

10

Trafford

18

2

20

Wigan

17

2

19

Greater Manchester

148

29

177

The Health & Safety Executive said falls from height are the biggest single cause of workplace deaths in the UK, and two deaths were reported in Greater Manchester during 2008/9. Another 521 workers in the area suffered serious injuries from a fall.

The safety awareness event is due to start at 5.30pm on Tuesday 11 May. For further details call 0161 952 8335.

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