‘Shockingly reckless attitude’ puts roofer back in court

A Bury roofer has appeared in court for putting workers' lives at risk, despite previously being prosecuted after a man was paralysed in a fall through a warehouse roof.

Tony Massey, who trades as Massey Roofing & Building Contractors, was photographed with two other men sitting on the ridge of the roof of a furniture warehouse on Wharfside Way in Trafford Park, approximately ten metres above the ground, on 18 October 2012.

He was prosecuted after the Health & Safety Executive found he had not taken any steps to prevent the men falling when climbing up the fragile roof to reach the ridge.

Trafford Magistrates' Court in Sale heard Massey was hired to carry out minor repairs to the roof at the Clivedon Furniture warehouse to fix leaks in the valley between two sloping sections.

He was seen climbing up to the ridge of the roof with a casual labourer and an employee from the furniture warehouse to check for other leaks, but failed to provide any safety equipment.

No risk assessment or method statement was produced in advance of the work, and no precautions were taken to prevent any of the men falling from the edge or through fragile glass skylights which run along almost the entire length of the roof.

The court was told Massey had been prosecuted before by HSE after an employee fell through a skylight at an industrial unit on Craven Court Industrial Estate in Warrington on 10 April 2007. The 62-year-old man from Bury sustained severe spinal injuries, leading to him being paralysed from the waist down. Massey had been declared bankrupt at the time of the previous prosecution and received a conditional discharge.

Tony Massey, 70, of Sunny Bank Road in Bury, pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and one breach of the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 following the latest incident at the furniture warehouse in Trafford Park.

The charges relate to failing to ensure the safety of workers and failing to have compulsory insurance, which meant the labourer he employed would not have been able to make an insurance claim for compensation if he had been injured in a fall. Massey was ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service in the next 12 months, and to pay £2,000 in prosecution costs on 31 May 2013.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Matt Greenly said: "It's shocking that Mr Massey showed such a reckless attitude to safety at the furniture warehouse in Trafford Park, especially as one of his employees was paralysed in a fall in a previous incident.

"Mr Massey chose to ignore the lessons of his past mistakes and instead allowed himself and two other men to climb onto the ridge of a fragile warehouse roof without a single, basic safety precaution in place, putting his own and their lives at risk.

"Work at height has the potential to be extremely dangerous if it isn't planned and carried out using appropriate equipment. Mr Massey should have known that more than most but has again found himself in court."

Massey could not be contacted on Tuesday morning.

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